Applying for Financial Aid
At SUNY, we try to keep the financial aid application process as simple as possible. Yet, it is still a process that generates many questions on the part of prospective students and their families. The steps below will take you through the "typical" application process. Be sure to contact staff in campus Financial Aid Offices with any questions you may have.
- Register for a "PIN" number with the U.S. Dept. of Education www.PIN.ed.gov. If your parent's information is used in applying for financial aid, one parent should also register for a PIN.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It's the first step and is required for all the SUNY aid programs. The FAFSA is available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA-on-the-Web is more accurate and faster. You can obtain a paper FAFSA from your secondary school counselor, library or college financial aid office. (FAFSA School Codes for all of the SUNY campuses) Submit the FAFSA as soon after January 1 as possible, even if your family taxes have not been filed at that time. Use estimated amounts if necessary.
- New York State residents should complete the Online TAP- (Tuition Assistance Program) on-the-Web application. When you have completed the FAFSA-on-the-Web, the confirmation page will give you a link to the TAP-on-the-Web application for New York State financial aid. Before completing the TAP application, you will be asked to establish a PIN (Personal Identification Number) for TAP. This is a separate PIN from your FAFSA PIN number; however you may choose to use the same number for both programs. If you used a paper FAFSA, you will receive an email or postcard from HESC with instructions on how to complete TAP-on-the-Web.
- Watch for an email from the U.S. Department of Education that will have a link to your Student Aid Report (SAR) which should arrive a few days after you submit the FAFSA online. If you used a paper FAFSA, it will take at least 4 to 6 weeks for you to receive a SAR. The SAR explains your eligibility for financial aid. Each college you list on the FAFSA will also receive this information. If necessary, submit corrections (for example, income or tax information) as instructed on the SAR.
- Investigate other sources of aid. These sources include scholarships from community, labor and service organizations, among others. Your school or transfer counselor may have some resources to assist you.
- Keep a file of records and copies of applications for future reference. Keep your financial aid award letters.
- Contact campus financial aid offices for answers and advice. They are the best source of financial aid information.
- Remember, to receive financial aid you must be enrolled in an eligible degree or certificate program and maintain good academic standing. Financial aid funds may be used only for education-related expenses. For most programs, you must be registered at least half-time. You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
- You must reapply for financial aid each year you are in college.
- If you did not submit a FAFSA for the current academic year, you should follow the application instructions for new students.
- If you did apply for financial aid for the current year, you should complete the Renewal FAFSA online for the next academic year.
- To complete the renewal FAFSA online, you will need the PIN that was sent to you when you received the results of your application. Before you use your PIN, you and your parent will need to activate the PINs at www.pin.ed.gov. You only need to activate the PIN once.
- To apply for financial aid at the college you are transferring to, use the college code for the new campus on the Renewal FAFSA. Get SUNY codes here, from the college or by calling 800-4-FEDAID or at FAFSA online.