College Planning Guide

Step-by-step guide to applying for financial aid

Figuring out how to pay for college can be positively overwhelming. But don't get discouraged. Follow the steps below to meet your financial aid deadlines and make the most of the funding that’s available to you:

1. Talk to our financial aid staff to find out about the different types of aid Ithaca may offer you. Get financial aid forms and set up a record keeping system to keep track of all your documents and deadlines.

2. Search everywhere for scholarships and grants. The web is a great place to start, but also be sure to look to any organizations or clubs you and your family belong to, as well as church groups, associations, employers, and more. You'll be surprised at some of the places where you find scholarship money.

3. Find out if you're eligible for federal loans and grants and get application forms.

4. File the Profile Application with the College Scholarship Service (CSS).

  • Be sure to authorize release of your data to us.
  • Our college code for the CSS Profile is 2325.
  • Our priority filing deadline is November 1 for early decision applicants and February 1 for regular admission applicants.
  • There is a fee for this application charged by CSS , but you may be eligible for a waiver from the CSS based on family income and assets.

5. File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online as soon as possible after January 1 and before February 1. Be sure to authorize release of your data to Ithaca.

  • Be sure to authorize release of your data to us.
  • Our college code for the FAFSA is 002739.
  • Our priority filing deadline is February 1 for both early decision and regular decision applicants.
  • The FAFSA may also be filed in paper format and available at high schools and colleges, but we prefer you file online.

6. If you are a New York state resident interested in applying for the New York State Tuition Assistance Plan, you must also file an Express TAP application (ETA) with the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) by May 1. To receive an ETA, you must file the FAFSA, authorizing release of FAFSA data to HESC. If you are a non-New York state resident, check within your own state to see if there are any grant programs which may be used at Ithaca College.

7. If you are eligible, send us your applications for the Ithaca Leadership Scholarship, MLK Scholar Program, and/or the Park Scholar Award by January 15.

8. Complete and file applications for other scholarships and grants you may have found.

9. Watch for your Student Aid Report (SAR) to arrive in the mail about four to six weeks after you file your FAFSA. Ithaca College will receive the same information and send you an award letter two to four weeks later (provided you have been accepted to the College).

  • Early decision applicants who have been accepted by the College and who have completed the CSS Profile by the November 1 priority filing deadline should receive an award letter by December 15.

10. Follow the instructions in your award letter to ensure your aid is properly processed and disbursed.

Remember, our financial aid staff is ready to help you. Just give them a call: 1-800-429-4275 or 607-274-3131.