Financial Aid Applications
Students eligible for government aid (see above) will need to complete the FAFSA and then the New York State TAP application. Some schools will also require the CSS Profile or other additional information. You may also want to research and apply for scholarships, each of which will have a unique application process.
What financial aid applications do I need to complete?
If you are a US Citizen, Permanent Resident, or eligible non-citizen (refugee or political asylee), you will need to complete at least two forms, including:
- FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (this application is for all federal financial aid, including Pell Grants);
- TAP: Tuition Assistance Program, a grant for New York State residents to attend an approved college in New York State. You complete the TAP application by clicking on the link at the end of the FAFSA application.
- You may also have to complete other forms, such as: a CSS Profile, if you are applying to this list of colleges; forms from individual colleges, if required.
What is the FAFSA?
FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, administered by the federal government. Students must complete the FAFSA before each year of college to be considered for any federal grants or loans. It can be accessed at www.fafsa.ed.gov (be sure to go to this site for the free application, other sites will charge you for it.
- How do I apply for TAP if I missed the direct link from the FAFSA form?
What is the TAP Application?
TAP is the Tuition Assistance Program, which is a New York State grant application administered by HESC. Applying determines your eligibility for the TAP grant, a New York State grant that goes to state residents attending college in New York. The maximum TAP grant amount is $5,000 yearly. It can be accessed at www.tapweb.org.
What is the CSS PROFILE?
The CSS Profile, the College Scholarship Service Profile, is a financial aid application used by particular colleges and scholarship programs. It is administered by the College Board. The CSS Profile is used by colleges to determine which students will receive financial support directly from the school. The questions go much more in depth on a student’s and family’s finances. It can be accessed at https://profileonline.collegeboard.org/prf/index.jsp.
I’m undocumented. Should I file financial aid applications?
If an undocumented student is applying to a school that requires the CSS Profile, only after receiving assurance from the school that they will not share information with the government, should the student submit the CSS Profile online. Please note that the student will not be eligible for fee waivers for the Profile.
If student is attending CUNY, they might be asked to turn in a paper copy of the FAFSA to their CUNY school to determine financial eligibility for certain programs. Students should feel safe in doing so because all CUNY employees are not allowed to share student’s immigration status with anyone.
My parents are separated and I live with my mom. Do I have to provide my dad’s information on my financial aid applications?
For the FAFSA and TAP applications, they only care about your custodial parent (the parent with whom you spend the most time). So for the FAFSA and TAP, you would not have to include any information about your non-custodial parent (the parent whom you spend less time with).
For the CSS Profile, you will have to fill out information about your non-custodial parent and your non-custodial parent will have to fill out the Non Custodial Parent Profile.
If you do not have contact with your non custodial parent, you will need to reach out to the financial aid office at each college to discuss your situation. If you can prove you have no contact with the parent, no support was paid or you don't know where s/he is, many colleges will work with you. Some colleges will consider waiving the requirement, but you might have to request a waiver formally in writing or the school might have a special form. Again, you should discuss your situation with the financial aid officer.
Who do I put in the parent section of the FAFSA?
Only the financial information of biological or adoptive parents should go on the FAFSA. If your parents are married, provide information about both parents. If your parent is widowed or single, provide information about that parent. If your parents have divorced or separated, provide information about the parent that you lived with most during the last 12 months. If you did not live with one parent more than the other, provide information about the parent who provided most of your financial support during the last 12 months.
Note: The following people are NOT considered parents unless they have legally adopted you: grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers or sisters, and uncles or aunts.
I don't live with my parents and they can’t help me pay for school; why do I need to include their information?
All students are considered dependent by the federal government unless they can answer yes to one of the following questions:
- Were you born before January 1, 1989?
- As of today are you married?
- At the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, will you be working on a master's or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, or graduate certificate, etc.)?
- Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
- Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
- Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013?
- Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2013?
- At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
- As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you an emancipated minor?
- As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you in legal guardianship?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2011, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2011, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2011, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
In the eyes of the federal government, being 18 or older and supporting yourself is not enough to deem you independent for the FAFSA. Students in this situation are still required to include parental information.
WEBSITE | The CSS PROFILE (College Scholarship Service Financial Aid PROFILE Application) provides financial and other family information necessary to... Read moreBookmark
WEBSITE | TAP is New York States Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) that provides financial aid to NYS residents attending NYS schools. Read moreBookmark
DOCUMENT | The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the most important financial aid application; it is the main application for federal grants and loans as well the basis for both New York State and private college grants. All students eligible to file the FAFSA should do so, even if they don’t think they will receive federal aid. Many colleges use information from the FAFSA to allocate their own financial aid funds. This companion document has step-by-step directions, and screenshots of the application, to help you complete it correctly and on time. Ask an adviser about submitting the FAFSA Read moreBookmark
DOCUMENT | The CSS PROFILE is a financial aid form which is only required by some colleges and scholarships. This form has extensive questions about expenses... Read moreBookmark
DOCUMENT | The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is a grant for New York state residents going to New York State colleges or universities. Eligible students could potentially receive a grant of $5,000 a year towards tuition at the NYS school of their choice. This document has step-by-step directions, and screenshots of the application, to help you complete it correctly and on time. Read moreBookmark
WEBSITE | A form created by the federal government and available online that students must complete before each year of college to be considered for almost any kind of financial aid. Click on the link above to go to the actual form. Read moreBookmark