FAFSA: The How-To Guide for High School Students (and the Adults Who Help Them)

The Center for New York City Affairs has published a friendly, new guide for high school students who are applying to college and beginning their all-important quest for financial aid: FAFSA: The How-To Guide for High School Students (And the Adults Who Help Them).

The Options Center of Goddard Riverside contributed to developing this resource that is designed to be a useful tool for students, families and the many caring adults in New York City public schools and communities who help families navigate the U.S. Department of Education’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The guide was also made possible with support from the Capital One Foundation, which is committed to empowering students and providing resources for their academic futures.

Filling out the FAFSA form is the first step for nearly all students seeking financial support to go to college. Understanding the form and handling it confidently is crucial for college matriculation and success.

FAFSA: The How-To Guide was written in partnership with experienced college guidance and financial aid professionals. It was designed to be particularly relevant to students who are the first in their families to be going to college. The guide explains how to prepare for the form, what kinds of questions will be asked, and why the government needs the information on parents, families and income.

The guide also addresses some of the more complicated questions first-generation students may have, such as:

  • How the FAFSA form defines parents and families in cases where students may not live with their parents.
  • How to fill out the FAFSA form if a parent or student is undocumented.
  • What to do when parents are uncomfortable sharing their financial information.
  • How to fill out the form carefully and accurately, so that it is processed quickly and can be easily verified by colleges.

Readers are also directed to resources provided by the U.S. Department of Education if they have questions. This is important, as many students are unaware of the government’s useful and supportive help.

Most importantly, FAFSA: The How-To Guide is easy to read and engaging for students. The Center hopes it will demystify the FAFSA and make it less intimidating. Please share this resource with colleagues and students, as we want as many people as possible to gain access to the guide. The Center also grants blanket permission for photocopying and distribution.

To download the guide, click here: FAFSA GUIDE.  If you would like a hard copy, please contact the Options Center at 646-758-6550.