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Financial aid filing has changed for school year

The financial aid filing process has changed for the 2017-2018 academic year.

In the past, students and parents would be filing their financial aid forms in January using estimated tax information.  This process led to guessing, correcting and a sense of not knowing the true financial aid picture.

This year you can file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in October and use 2015 tax information to complete all of your financial aid forms.  This is called Prior-Prior Year filing.

This new process allows the student, parent and the school to know well in advance of the college acceptance decision date, what the actual financial aid packages will look like and if the student and parent can afford the college.

This entire process, Prior-Prior Year uses actual tax information from the most recent completed tax year to file the FAFSA, the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), and CSS Profile forms.

In an effort to help students and parents in filing the FAFSA for the 2017-2018 academic year, the financial aid staff at FM will once again be having financial aid information sessions in the local high schools.

We will walk you through getting the FSA ID used to sign the FAFSA, using the data retrieval transfer (which brings in all of you federal tax information into the FAFSA), and getting the FAFSA and TAP application filed in plenty of time to meet the schools deadlines.

We are also able to answer any financial aid related questions you might have as parents and as students.

Upcoming financial aid information sessions are as follows:  Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. Johnstown High School; Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m., Fonda-Fultonville High School; Nov. 10, 6 p.m., OESJ High School; Nov. 14, 6:30 p.m., Canajoharie High School; Nov. 15, 6:30 p.m., Northville High School; Nov. 16, 6:30 pm, Broadalbin-Perth High School; Nov. 17, 6:30 pm, Amsterdam High School; and, Dec. 5, 6:30 pm, Mayfield High School.

After you have attended one of the sessions on applying for aid, visit the SUNY Smart Track Financial Literacy webpage.  This site (www.suny.edu/smarttrack) provides a great opportunity to do research on paying for college and offers tools for general financial health.

For example, students will be shown how to research about applying for aid, the types of financial aid and offers, and learn about financial literacy tools such as budgeting, credit cards, credit history and identity theft.

Please join us and bring all of your questions. We will be happy to answer them the best we can.

Rebecca Cozzocrea is the coordinator of financial aid at FMCC.

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