"FAFSA: The How-to Guide for High School Students” Provides a New Roadmap for Low-Income and First-Generation College Students Filling Out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The New School’s Center for New York City Affairs in partnership with the Capital One Foundation Releases a Guide to Help Low-Income Students and Families Gain Access to Funding for College


NEW YORK (January 17, 2013) – Each year, more than $236 billion in financial aid is available to help students and their families pay for college*, yet millions of students leave money on the table because they do not complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The form is the gateway to nearly all financial aid, including government grants, college scholarships, work study and loans. To help families navigate this complicated form and increase opportunities for aid, the Center for New York City Affairs, a policy institute based at The New School, has partnered with the Capital One Foundation to develop the FAFSA: The How-to Guide for High School Students (and the Adults Who Help Them). The guide is available today at: www.centernyc.org.

FAFSA: The How-to Guide decodes the application and answers questions that low-income students and families frequently contend with, such as how to:
• Fill out the form accurately so it is processed quickly and can be easily verified by colleges.
• Reference parents and family members in cases where students do not reside with their parents.
• Figure out how to handle sensitive, personal financial information.
• Include timely details about taxes if parents file their tax forms in April after FAFSA’s required submission in January or February.
• Provide income and residency if parents do not file U.S. tax returns.

FAFSA: The How-to Guide is designed not only for students and their families, but it is also a useful training tool for high school guidance counselors, teachers, volunteers, and non-profit professionals who often serve as resources for college-related information.

“Our research on the FAFSA revealed that many low-income students are filling out the form by themselves, with little help from their family members. We also discovered that the form is incredibly intimidating to high school students,” said Kim Nauer, Director of Education Research at The New School’s Center for New York City Affairs. “We collected the questions that students had and answered them in this friendly, easy-to-read guide.”

“First-year college students who apply for federal student aid are 72 percent more likely to persist through college than their peers who are eligible for this aid but do not apply** ,” said Carolyn Berkowitz, President, Capital One Foundation and Managing Vice President, Community Affairs, Capital One Financial Corporation. “Through our partnership with The New School, we are providing a practical tool to help families, especially those in underserved communities, ensure their students have opportunities to attend and complete college. In today’s economy, a postsecondary degree is the most effective way to position youth for future professional and financial success.”

"Every day, we work with young people who strive to go to college, but hit a major roadblock when it comes to filling out the FAFSA form. FAFSA: The How-to Guide directly responds to the complex and sensitive questions first generation college-goers, immigrants, and other students ask us as they work through the challenges of securing funding for college," said Lily Owen, Director of the Options Center at Goddard Riverside, which provides college access training and resources for both students and those who advise them. “This guide combats the myths about financial aid so we can better support young people to enter and succeed in college. We anticipate this resource will help many young people make a college degree a reality."

The FAFSA How-To Guide is now available for high school students, families and guidance counselors throughout the country in print and online at www.centernyc.org.

About The New School
Founded in 1919, The New School was born out of principles of academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. Committed to social engagement, The New School today remains in the vanguard of innovation in higher education, with more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students challenging the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The New School welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and calendar of lectures, screenings, readings, and concerts. Through its online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence. Learn more at www.newschool.edu.

About Capital One
Capital One Financial Corporation, headquartered in McLean, Virginia, is a Fortune 500 company with approximately 1,000 branch locations primarily in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Its subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A., and Capital One Bank (USA), N. A., offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. We apply the same principles of innovation, collaboration and empowerment in our commitment to our communities across the country that we do in our business. We recognize that helping to build strong and healthy communities – good places to work, good places to do business and good places to raise families – benefits us all and we are proud to support this and other community initiatives.

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* Student Aid Financial Services Inc.

** National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators


79 Fifth Avenue,
New York, NY 10003


Media Contacts:

Sam Biederman,
Associate Director of University Communications
212.229.5667 x3094

Kim Nauer

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