How do I apply for financial aid?

How to Apply for Financial Aid

Getting federal and New York State financial aid begins with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

  • Complete the FAFSA electronically, or get a paper FAFSA by calling the Department of Education at 1-800-4-FED-AID.
  • Be sure to file early to meet deadlines.
  • New York State residents who include a New York school on their FAFSA may apply for State aid, including New York's Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), immediately after completing the FAFSA by using the special link on the FAFSA Submission Confirmation page.
  • If you exited the FAFSA before completing the TAP application or if you completed a paper FAFSA, you can still apply for TAP online at HESC will send an e-mail or postcard with instructions on how to request a paper TAP application.


Next Steps 

  • You will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) summarizing your FAFSA, including your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Review it and make any corrections.
  • You will be sent an award letter from your college stating the aid you can expect if you attend that institution. Consider and compare the options outlined in the letter including grants, scholarships, loans and work-study programs.
  • Tell the financial aid office that you accept or reject all or part of the financial aid package. Complete any other forms required by the college or university.
  • If you need a federal loan, follow the instructions in your college award letter. Visit for information and application procedures. 

Apply Every Year!

  • Never assume that because you received aid in one academic year you'll automatically be eligible next year. Review each program's application procedures carefully and reapply each year.
  • If you filled out a FAFSA the year before, you can probably use the shorter Renewal FAFSA and TAP application.
  • Continue to search for private scholarships available through many private companies, foundations and other philanthropic or service organizations such as your local Rotary or Lions Club.