Paying for College:
What you should know when applying for financial aid
Michael R. Benedetto
Provided by
Michael R. Benedetto

3369 East Tremont Avenue
Bronx, NY 10461

Useful Resources and Contacts

U.S. Department of Education
FAFSA Web site:
Can be used to electronically complete the FAFSA and provides a wealth of information on federal financial aid programs

New York State Higher EducationServices Corporation (HESC):
Provides information on financial aid programs in New York State, with the option of completing the TAP application online

Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP):
Provides information on New York State’s HEOP program

College Bound Program:
3512 Dekalb Avenue
Provides free college counseling and assistance in filling out FAFSA

National College Access Program Directory:
Provides online searchable database of college access programs

FastWeb Scholarship Search:
Extensive online scholarship database

Applying to college can be both an exhilarating and challenging experience. In particular, the rising cost of higher education is making it increasingly difficult for many low-and middle-class families to pay for college.

To help cover some of the costs of attending college, I encourage all students and their families to pursue the numerous scholarships available to them. However, this guide is designed to help students in applying for federal and state financial aid programs.

The process of filling out the forms required by government financial aid programs may appear daunting and at times intimidating, but the effort invested in completing these applications in a timely manner can make a big difference in being able to afford a college education.

This guide seeks to provide a brief overview of how students and their families can apply for government sponsored financial aid and a list of organizations that can assist students in that process.

I hope that the enclosed information will ease some of the anxiety associated with applying to college, and I wish you the best as you begin this exciting journey!



Michael R. Benedetto
Member of Assembly

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The FAFSA application is the most important step in applying for financial aid. Every college bound student must fill out the FAFSA application in order to be considered for financial aid. All financial aid is based on family income provided on the FAFSA application.

FAFSA causes a lot of anxiety for students and their families. In particular many students hold off completing the FAFSA until they know their family’s final income. There are two mistakes in doing this; one, you are delaying consideration of your application and time is of the essence when applying for financial aid, and two, any information provided on the FAFSA can be changed at a later time. Therefore, if you only have an estimate of your family income, do not delay completing your application because you will be given a chance later to provide final numbers.

For eligible students in New York State a properly completed FAFSA can mean receiving up to a maximum of $9,000 in Federal and State grants!

Going Away to College: Financial Aid Considerations

For many students going away to college can be a one-of-a-kind experience. But from a financial aid perspective, it can cost eligible students thousands in financial aid. For example, an eligible student in New York can receive up to a maximum $5,000 Pell and $4,000 TAP grant. However, attending college outside of New York will mean losing the TAP grant.

It is highly advisable that students list up to 5 colleges in New York State on their FAFSA application to be automatically considered for New York’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).


New York has some of the finest colleges in the world! And its public colleges and universities are truly a jewel in our nation’s higher education system. Some of our nation’s greatest minds are currently teaching at CUNY and SUNY universities and community colleges. When considering the cost of college, I would encourage every student to look at our public colleges and universities for their great value and academics. For eligible families, PELL and TAP would cover up to the entire tuition of CUNY and SUNY colleges and universities.

Quick Tips and Ideas

Start the application process early and get help from your school college advisor—they are a great source of information.


Remember to complete the FAFSA application accurately and in a timely fashion!


Check with individual colleges about their financial aid deadlines.


When choosing a college consider cost implications of attending in-state vs. out-of-state school.