Scholarships and Financial Aid
The cost of attendance of many post-secondary options, be it college or occupational training, is an extremely important part of the search for many families. Financial aid can be a confusing part of the process. We recommend that you direct specific questions about the financial aid process to the college’s financial aid office.
*Please join us for Financial Aid night at BHS in October- more information on date and time can be found under NEWSLETTERS/EVENTS
College is an expensive investment…
We encourage you to have honest conversations with your child about the cost of college and what is realistic for your family to afford. Consider categorizing your schools by FINANCIAL reach, match and safety. Here are some websites that can help with this process:
- finaid.org -This award-winning site has grown into the most comprehensive source of student financial aid information, advice and tools -- on or off the web.
- Net Price Calculator (found on websites of each college)- after entering some information about your family income, it will provide an estimate of what the cost of attendance for that specific college would be for your family.
- NY Times Student Loan Calculator -The New York Times has created a student loan calculator to offer a guide to the borrowing picture at various institutions — and what it takes after graduation to repay the loans.
Financial Aid Applications
Students who would like to apply for federal forms of financial aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, referred to as the FAFSA. Aid from the federal government can take the form of grants that don’t need to be paid back, and loans that need to be repaid according to the terms of the loan. The FAFSA must be completed for federal loans, including Federal Parent Plus loans. The application is online, and requires parent information.
- Students and parents apply for individual Federal Student Aid IDs (FSA ID) at https://fsaid.ed.gov. This can be done at any time prior to beginning the FAFSA.
- Starting on October 1st of senior year, families can complete the FAFSA at fafsa.ed.gov using their completed tax return from 2 years prior. Families will hear this referred to as the prior-prior tax year.
Keep in mind that although the FAFSA opens on October 1, each school has different financial aid deadlines.
After the FAFSA is completed and signed using your FSA ID, the family will receive an Estimated Family Contribution amount. This is the amount that the federal government determines a family can afford to contribute to the student’s college education and is the number that all colleges will use when determining how much federal aid will be awarded to a student. Students should carefully compare the financial aid packages for each school to which they are accepted before making a final decision. Depending on a family’s financial situation, a school that has a more expensive price tag can be more affordable once factoring in financial aid and scholarships.
New York State has its own financial aid application called NYS TAP (Tuition Assistance Program), which can be used for education in NYS-based colleges. Families can complete the TAP application immediately after filing their FAFSA. A link is provided to bring students directly to the TAP application from the FAFSA, and much of the information from the FAFSA will be pre-populated into the TAP application if families choose to complete the TAP application from this link.
The TAP website is https://www.tapweb.org.
NYS EXCELSIOR SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION
The Excelsior Scholarship provides tuition awards to eligible students attending New York State's public colleges and universities (SUNY and CUNY). This scholarship, in combination with other student financial aid programs, allows students to attend a SUNY college tuition-free. For more information and a link to the application: http://www.hesc.ny.gov/excelsior/
Some colleges, primarily private colleges, ask for additional financial information to determine school-based aid through the CSS/Profile application. The CSS Profile is an online application that collects information used by nearly 400 colleges and scholarship programs to award non-federal aid. A college’s financial aid page should let you know if this is part of their financial aid process, so be sure to check every website! The application and information on the application can be found at: https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org/
Types of Financial Aid
Grants are funds given to a student from the federal or state government or an institution that does not have to be repaid. This money is typically sent directly to the college or university. The most well-known grant program is the federal Pell Grant, which is given to freshmen who demonstrate financial need as determined by the FAFSA. College institutions also award grants to students who demonstrate financial need.
Loans are defined as money the student and/or parent is eligible to borrow for educational expenses. The money must be repaid with interest. Most financial aid packages and financial aid award letters from colleges/universities will offer families substantial loans. There are three types of loans:
- Subsidized Loans: The federal government will pay the interest on this student signed (no-cosign required) loan while the student is enrolled in school. Repayment usually begins within 6 months of graduation or leaving school and is usually available at the lowest interest rate of any loan.
- Unsubsidized Loans: The student is responsible for all accrued interest. Usually repayment does not begin until 6 months after graduation or leaving school.
- PLUS Loans: Allows parents to borrow in their names for the education of their dependents. Unlike loans made in the student’s names, repayment begins immediately upon the receipt of the loans.
A work study is when a student is employed part-time on campus with the earnings to be used for educational expenses. Students have to select that they want to be considered for Work Study upon FAFSA completion. Normally, work is limited to 10-12 hours/week.
Financial aid award letters from colleges are usually a combination of grant, loans, scholarships and/or work study. Remember, financial aid is to be used in addition to what the family and student can provide. Rarely does financial aid cover the entire cost of undergraduate education.
Students can choose to apply for scholarships to help offset post-secondary education costs. The counseling office keeps a list of local scholarships, called Scholarship list, under the Colleges tabs in Naviance Student. This scholarship search feature provides students with a search engine for additional regional and national scholarships.
Some colleges consider students for school-based scholarships automatically through the college application; other colleges have additional scholarship applications. Always check the financial aid website for each prospective college to determine their scholarship process and deadlines. Keep in mind that some colleges set earlier application deadlines for students who want to be considered for school-based scholarships.Many organizations contact Brighton High School offering scholarships, seeking applicants and nominees. Please log into the Naviance website for a list of scholarship and essay opportunities, which is updated as information becomes available.