How to Apply for Financial Aid

Applying for financial aid is important, but it's not scary and it isn't too difficult. Here's your how-to guide to get the biggest award you can.

Monday, April 13, 2020
2 min. read

Applying for financial aid is one of the most important parts of the college search process, but it's not scary and it isn't too difficult. Before you get started, make sure you:

  • Understand the Different Types of Aid: There's state, federal, and institutional (college-funded) financial aid. You'll need to apply for each type of aid separately, and all forms of aid require that you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  
  • Are Ready for New Conversations: We find that for a lot of families, the financial aid process is the first time students and their parents have had a serious talk with one another about household income. There's no need to be anxious about having these conversations — just know that you're going to be having them as part of this process. 

The entire financial aid process can easily be completed online, and you don't need to complete everything in one sitting. You can save your work and go back to it at any point. 

Ready to get started?

Step 1: Make a List

The first step is making sure you know what you want to accomplish. In this process, you're going to apply for:

  • Institutional Aid from Keuka College
  • Financial Aid from the U.S. Department of Education
  • New York's Tuition Assistance Program (assuming you live in New York)

You'll need to have some information nearby to complete these applications, including your:

  • Social Security Number or Alien Registration Number
  • Federal Tax Return
  • W-2s
  • Records of Untaxed Income (e.g., child support or social services)
  • Bank Statements and Records of Investments

If you're a dependent, you'll need all of this information for your parents as well. 

We recommend using a checklist to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. You can make your own, or you can click here to download our Applying for Financial Aid checklist. You can either print it out or import it into your favorite notes app. 

Step 2: Apply to Keuka College

Your application for admission to Keuka College is also your application for financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Applying to Keuka College is completely free, and we accept our own application as well as the Common App.

You don't need any of your family's financial information for the Keuka College application (we'll get that from your FAFSA later). If you haven't already done so, apply to Keuka College now.

Step 3: Fill Out Your FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the most important part of the financial aid process. After you create a login, you'll go through an online application that will ask you about your:

  • Demographics
  • School Selection
  • Dependency Status
  • Parent Demographics
  • Parent Financials
  • Financials

The process is relatively easy, and you should be able to complete the entire thing in about an hour if you have all of your information nearby. Note that you might be able to transfer your federal tax return information directly into the FAFSA using the IRS' data retrieval tool, which will save a ton of time.

Keuka College's Federal School Code is 002744. You'll need to enter this on the FAFSA so that we get the information we need to process your scholarship application. 

Begin or Continue Your FAFSA Now

Step 4: Apply for TAP

The New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) helps eligible New York residents pay tuition at approved schools in New York State. TAP is a grant, and does not have to be paid back. 

If you file your FAFSA on the web and provide an electronic signature, your information can be linked to the TAP application. New York State will determine your finalized TAP award based on current tuition charges and satisfactory completion of all TAP requirements as outlined in the Keuka College Record. Our NYS TAP ID is 0345.

Access the Express TAP Application Now

Once you complete and submit your TAP application, you'll officially be done applying for financial aid.

What's Next?

  • Get Accepted to Keuka College: You'll know within a few weeks of us receiving your application materials if you've been accepted.
  • Receive Your Financial Aid Award Letter: Your financial aid award letter, which outlines your scholarships, grants, and loan opportunities, will be mailed to you. You may return your award letter by mail or accept your financial aid online.
  • Make Your Decision and Submit Your Deposit: As soon as you know you'll be attending Keuka College, you can submit your deposit to hold your seat. 
  • Complete Any Missing Documents: From time-to-time, we may need additional information from you (we'll let you know either through email or in the mail). Make sure you get all of the required information in — and on time.
  • Attend New Student Orientation: You can meet with Financial Aid during NSO to tie up any loose ends and to receive additional advice and information.