State Senator Malcolm A. Smith (D-Queens) today encouraged New Yorkers looking for ways to help pay for college to utilize an innovative program co-sponsored by the New York State Financial Aid Administrator’s Association (NYSFAAA) and the New York State Higher Education Services Corp. (HESC). The two organizations have a long history of offering collaborative, special projects, he said.
"New Yorkers may not know about all the financial resources available to help plan and pay for college," Senator Smith said. "By combining scholarships, work study and savings programs, however, state residents can put together a personalized financial package that a working family can afford."
Senator Smith noted many high school seniors and their families need information about financial aid resources and how to apply for them. An important first step is completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the universally required financial aid application.
This year, NYSFAAA and HESC will once again host New York’s "College Goal Sunday," a free event offering hands-on professional help with filling out the FAFSA and submitting it electronically. In New York, the initiative will be held at 15 locations throughout the state, including John Bowne High School in Flushing, on Sunday, February 10 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
"As a legislator, my goal is to help open the door to college opportunities," the Queens lawmaker said. "College Goal Sunday provides an important step in making the dream of a college education a reality for many of our young adults."
Senator Smith noted that more than 1,000 high school seniors filed their federal financial aid applications electronically at last year’s event. He encouraged college-bound students and their families to visit www.collegegoalsundayny.com for further information relative to College Goal Sunday. The website includes a step-by-step checklist detailing the process of pulling together necessary forms and information and completing the documents families will need to bring to the event.
"Filling out financial aid forms can be complicated and time-consuming, but College Goal Sunday makes it easier to clear the paperwork hurdle," Senator Smith concluded. "Don’t let fear of applying keep you from achieving your educational goals. A college degree can open doors for the rest of our life."