How to Pay for College
Figuring out how you're going to pay for college can be overwhelming. Without student financial aid, a college education would be out of reach for many distance learning and career training participants. Before money issues leave you in a panic, follow these simple steps to apply for student financial aid.
  • Calculate your expenses. Before you begin your student financial aid application, sit down with your family and budget your college expenses. Find out what your annual tuition and fees will be and estimate your living expenses for the school year.
  • Apply even if you think you won't get any money. Many students mistakenly think that they or their parents earn too much money for them to receive student financial aid. Family circumstances, such as having a sibling in college, may affect your eligibility.
  • Fill out a FAFSA. The federal government has streamlined its financial aid application process. Students must fill out a standard form, called a FAFSA, available on the Internet or from your admissions or financial aid counselor. The federal Web site also lists the documents that will help you complete the FAFSA. Information on your FAFSA is used to determine the type and amounts of aid for which you qualify.
  • Look into state and school funding. Your state or school may also use the FAFSA results to determine your eligibility for aid. You should contact the financial aid office at your college to find out if they require additional applications to apply for state or college financial aid programs.
Don't be discouraged if you don't receive any student financial aid your first year. Many state and federal grant programs review your FAFSA and reward you with additional student financial aid as you complete more credits. Family financial situations change and you can resubmit FAFSA information each year, which could affect how the government determines your financial need.

Federal Student Aid
New York State Higher Education Services
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