05. Financial Aid

5. Apply for financial aid
College can be very expensive, but there is financial aid available. To access this aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is a form that you fill out and send to the United States Department of Education. Then they calculate your eligibility for grants, loans and general financial aid and send this information to you and your college in the form of a Student Aid Report (SAR).
The Center for New York City Affairs has published a second edition of a very popular guide for high school students who are applying to college and beginning their all-important quest for financial aid: FAFSA: The How-To Guide for High School Students (And the Adults Who Help Them).

You can fill out the FAFSA online through the Department of Education website. You cannot submit a FAFSA application until after January 1st of your senior year, but it is recommended that you do so as soon as possible after January 1st. Ideally, it should be submitted before April 1st.

If you need help filling out your FAFSA, College Goal Sunday offers FREE workshops across the United States between February 1 and May 1 each year. Visit their website to learn more.

Loans will likely make up part of your financial aid. For the most part, the financial aid office at your school can help you find loans. If you need extra help, visit the loan section of The SmartStudent(TM) Guide to Financial Aid.

To estimate your financial need or your eligibility for financial aid, follow these links to calculators at The SmartStudent(TM) Guide to Financial Aid or C3 Apply, or look at the net price calculator on each colleges’ website.

For help with all the terms, visit the US Department of Education’s glossary of terms.

The New School and the Center for New York City Affairs have also created a new website for educators and families available at www.understandingfafsa.org. The website features PDFs of the guide in English and Spanish as well as a presentation version suitable for classrooms and large groups.

Citizen Scientist Environmental Monitoring of the Hudson River Estuary