Statement from CICU President Mary Beth Labate on College Affordability, New York State and Federal Student Aid Programs — Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for 2018-19 Academic Year Opens Today, Sunday, October 1

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“It is essential that we all, as Governor Cuomo said today, 'work to ensure that access to a college degree is not determined by family finances but rather is available to all who work hard and dream big.' State and federal student aid programs are key to helping students attend the college or university that best fits their interests and needs, whether private or public,” said Mary Beth Labate, president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities.

“Working side by side, all of New York's colleges and universities can ensure that students receive a quality education that is both affordable and the right choice for them and their families. New York’s 100+ private, not-for-profit colleges and universities have long partnered with the state and federal government to put higher education within economic reach of talented students no matter their resources,” Labate said.

“In addition to the state Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and federal Pell Grants and campus-based aid programs including the Perkins Loan program and the Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (SEOG), our campuses provided $5.1 billion in student financial aid from their own funds—more than three times the amount distributed in 2000-01,” Labate said.

“Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid known as the FAFSA is the first step to receiving student financial aid. Starting today, the FAFSA application opens for the college year that starts next fall. I encourage every college-bound high school senior and our returning students to fill out the FAFSA as soon as they can,” Labate said.

“Working together, state and federal policymakers, colleges and universities and families can ensure that all students have the opportunity to choose the academic program and campus environment that best meets their interests and needs,” Labate said.