Financial Aid Awareness Month


All of us know how important it is to support our students through the college application process. That work entails building financial awareness for students and their families, so they can access the widest range of postsecondary education opportunities. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opened on October 1, of this year, enabling students to begin the process of applying for financial aid. Many colleges, including CUNY, allocate funds on a rolling, first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, it is very important for students to complete the application early.

However, despite its importance, far too many students do not complete the FAFSA. It was recently reported that at least 1.7 million students do not file a FAFSA each year, because they incorrectly assume that they are ineligible for aid. Additionally, it has been estimated that nearly $50 million in Pell grant awards alone goes untapped by New York City students each year! That is $50 million of grants our students would have received if they had simply filled out their FAFSA forms.

That is why we are thrilled to share FAFSA resources publicly available on our financial aid website as well as two internal key tools to support you, your staff, and students that are available on WeTeachNYC:

·       The first is the “How-to Guide for High School Students on FAFSA (and the Adults Who Help Them)” By mid-November, this guide will be mailed to every 12th grader. This year, it has been translated into 9 different languages, and will be available in both English and in the home language of the student to share with their family. We have also partnered with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to provide additional guidance on how to support DACA-eligible students at your school. An online version of the guide, and the DACA guidance, are both available on WeTeachNYC.

·       The second is the FAFSA completion data portal, developed in partnership with the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC). This portal provides you with real time FAFSA and TAP completion data for all graduating seniors, in order to effectively target and encourage all students to complete these financial aid forms. You and your designated College and Career Point Person have access to the FAFSA completion portal, and additional staff can be granted access as well.  Instructions can be found in the manual also available on WeTeachNYC. For username, password and other registration questions contact the HESC Helpdesk at (866) 431-4372.


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