January 23, 2014 — Rebecca Cozzocrea
College is an investment in your future and it is never too early to start planning! Fortunately, the cost of attending a SUNY (State University of New York) community college or university is very affordable and many sources of financial aid are available to help manage the cost. There are various factors which can affect college expenses, including the type of college or university, the number of courses a student takes, and the student’s major. One way to prepare for the cost is for both the student and the parents to begin saving for college as soon as possible because the more you save, the less you’ll need when you start college. However, if time has slipped away and you are feeling overwhelmed about college expenses, there are many options out there to help. From federal funding to work study jobs to scholarships, there is something for almost everyone, but it’s up to you to take the first step.
The first step to be considered for any monies is to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Both the student and parent will need to complete this application. Once filed, you will be informed on whether you will receive any federal grants (monies that you do not have to repay), loans (monies you do have to repay), and/or work study jobs (monies that must be earned). Also after the FAFSA is filed, New York State residents who are planning on attending any New York State school must then file their New York State Tuition Assistance Program, or TAP application. Once you have completed these two very important applications, the student should concentrate on scholarship applications available from their colleges of choice, their local high school, and community organizations.
A great opportunity for students and parents to receive assistance with the financial aid process is SUNY Financial Aid Day being held this Saturday, January 25 from 9:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. in FM’s Evans Library. Here you will receive free assistance from the College’s financial aid professionals in completing both the FAFSA and TAP applications. SUNY’s Financial Aid Day is offered as a service to all prospective college students and their families regardless of the college you plan on attending. The program is designed to answer questions and provide assistance regarding the financial aid applications, types of aid available and the award process.
FM is one of 46 SUNY college programs across New York State offering this type of service. You can pre-register for our program on SUNY’s website at www.suny.edu/studentevents. Important items to bring with you include student and parent social security numbers, birth dates, and driver’s licenses. State and federal tax information for 2013 will be necessary to complete the FAFSA. If you have not received your W-2’s or completed your tax returns as of this date you can bring 2012 tax information in order to estimate your income.
If you or your student has questions regarding the application process or if you have general questions, please contact me at (518) 736-FMCC (3622) or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rebecca Cozzocrea is FM’s Coordinator of Financial Aid.