Financial Aid Timeline

1. Step One: Collect the following items and documents

  • Social Security Numbers and date(s) of birth for your custodial parent(s) and student
  • Latest Federal and State tax returns for you and your custodial parent(s)
  • Records of untaxed income (such as child support)
  • Bank, stock, real estate and business records (if applicable) for you and your parents

2. Step Two: If required by the school(s) you are applying to, submit College Board CSS PROFILE on the web at after October 1st of your senior year in high school

3. Step Three: Get FSA IDs for you and one of your parents

4. Step Four: File your FAFSA on the Web at after October 1st of your senior year in high school

5. Step Five: Check your Financial Aid Application Responses

  • If there are errors, you will receive a request for more information by mail or email in 2-3 weeks
  • If you applied to any school in New York, you will receive a notification from The Higher Education Services Corporation/HESC about applying for a Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) grant sometime in the spring
  • If you qualify, you will need to complete the paperwork for NYS Excelsior Tuition Scholarship (SUNY or CUNY) or NYS Enhanced Tuition Scholarship (for private colleges that enroll in program)
  • Any time after filing a FAFSA application, use your FSA ID to make corrections to your application at
  • Check your TAP status at any time after filing or to make corrections at
  • Respond to any requests for additional information from your school – most delays in processing a financial aid award come from delayed responses from the student and parents

6. Step Six: Apply for Federal Direct Loans, if wanted, after June 1 of student’s senior year in high school

  • Student loan – Submit Master Promissory Note and Federal Entrance Counseling at
  • Parent Loan – Submit Federal credit check, Parent PLUS Loan, and Master Promissory Note at Credit check is required