January Is Financial Aid Awareness Month

The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation has launched New York State Student Financial Aid Awareness Month – a period during which students and families can learn about and apply for financial aid opportunities available to help them pay for college.

HESC, New York’s student financial aid agency, is coordinating the statewide campaign, entitled “Start Here Get There,” to inform and educate students and families about college financial aid and promote the completion of the most important tool in securing that aid, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

“Financial aid is critical to increasing college access and success, and it’s most effective when students and families learn about it early enough to make the right choices and plans to prepare for college,” said Elsa Magee, HESC acting president. “By raising awareness at the height of the financial aid application season, more New Yorkers with college-aged children will be able to receive early assistance in applying for moneys that are available to help them pay for college.”

Completing the FAFSA is the first step to obtaining financial aid. Families of college-bound students, as well as those currently attending college should complete the FAFSA as early as possible in January to have the best chance of receiving all the financial aid for which they are qualified.

StartHereGetThere.org lists local events, organized by geographic region of the state, where New Yorkers can learn about financial aid programs and receive hands on assistance with their FAFSA application at workshops staffed by financial aid administrators from colleges throughout the state. The site also provides a step-by-step tutorial for completing the FAFSA, college and financial aid planning information, informative videos, helpful tips and tools, as well as information about federal, state and college-sponsored aid, including grants, such as New York’s Tuition Assistance Program and other scholarships, loans and work study programs.

Students and families can receive personal assistance with their FAFSA questions throughout the month: online chat weekdays on StartHereGetThere.org email at FAFSAhelp.hesc.ny.gov, special toll-free HESC hotline, 1-800-608-1790, noon to 5 p.m. weekdays

For more information about Student Financial Aid Awareness Month, visit StartHereGetThere.org.