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Counseling Department




WHAT is federal student aid?

Federal student aid comes from the federal government—specifically, the U.S. Department of Education.  Its money that helps a student pay for higher education expenses (i.e., college, career school, or graduate school expenses).

Federal student aid covers such expenses as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation.  Aid also can help pay for a computer and for dependent care.

There are three main categories of federal student aid: grants, work-study, and loans.  Check with your school to find out which programs your school participates in. 

WHO gets federal student aid?

Our most basic eligibility requirements are that you must:

  • demonstrate financial need (for most programs— to learn more, visit;
  • be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen;
  • have a valid Social Security number;
  • register (if you haven’t already) with Selective Service, if you’re a male between the ages of 18 and 25;
  • maintain satisfactory academic progress in college or career school; and
  • show you’re qualified to obtain a college or career school education by
    • having a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate or
    • completing a high school education in a homeschool setting approved under state law.
  • Find more details about eligibility criteria at

HOW do you apply for federal student aid?

  1. Create an FSA ID.Students, parents, and borrowers should create an FSA ID at
  2. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at
  3. Review your Student Aid Report (SAR). After you apply, you’ll receive a Student Aid Report, or SAR. Your SAR contains the information reported on your FAFSA and usually includes your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).The EFC is an index number used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid.Review your SAR information and make any corrections or changes, if necessary.The school(s) you list on your FAFSA will get your SAR data electronically.
  4. Contact the school(s) you might attend.Make sure the financial aid office at each school you’re interested in has all the information needed to determine your eligibility.If you’re eligible, each school’s financial aid office will send you an award letter showing the amount and types of aid (from all sources) the school will offer you.You can compare award letters from the schools to which you applied and see what aid you can receive from each school.

**Additional Financial Aid Websites and Resources* or   


Financial Aid Articles and Resources

FAFSA4caster is a free financial aid calculator that gives you an early estimate of your eligibility for federal student aid. This information helps families plan ahead for college. You must use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA®) to apply for aid once you’ve decided to apply for admission and attend college.

Who should use FAFSA4caster?
How do I use FAFSA4caster?
What information does FAFSA4caster provide?


Recent Presentations at CHS

Paying for College : Getting Started - Presented by Eugene Rogers, Senior Financial Aid Counselor at Molloy College

Date of Presentation: Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Click here for a pdf copy of the Financial Aid Presentation

Navigating the Financial Aid Process – Presented by Daniel M. Tramuta, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services SUNY Fredonia

Date of Presentation: Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Click here for pdf copy of the Financial Aid Presentation