If you think you want to use financial aid to help pay for your education, the best time to start the process is when you begin applying to colleges. This video will give you a quick walk-through of how to proceed:

Step-by-step guide

1. Get your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID)

The FSA ID serves as your identifier so you can access your personal information in various U.S. Department of Education systems throughout the process. Because your FSA ID serves as your electronic signature, you should not give it to anyone. If your parents are considering taking a Direct PLUS loan, they should also apply for their own FSA IDs.

2. Create your Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA)

Once you have a FSA ID, visit https://studentaid.gov/and click on the “Start a New FAFSA” button. You will be prompted to fill in your FSA ID login information.

Our School Code is: 031207

You can file the FAFSA as early as January 1 of the academic year in which you plan to enroll. You must file by May 6 to receive a financial aid package reflecting your maximum eligibility for Federal, and New York Conservatory funds. Some funds are dispersed on a first-come, first-served basis and will run out. Don’t miss out, file your FAFSA early.

FAFSA applications are processed on a rolling basis, but it may take up to 6 weeks to begin receiving aid. Best filing period: January 1 to May 6.

3. Review your Student Aid Report

Carefully review the Student Aid Report (SAR) that you receive from the U.S. Department of Education. The SAR may include important information about the status of your application, including missing information. If you file online, your SAR will come by e-mail.

Follow the instructions to make corrections if necessary, and then keep the final SAR for your records. Do this even if you are not eligible for the Federal Pell Grant.


Financial Aid is disbursed to students at the beginning of each term. Thereafter, NYCDA will disburse financial aid awards on a weekly basis, except during periods of non-enrollment and recess periods.

Documentation and Updates

Keep a copy of all documents that you submit to the Financial Aid Office. Be certain that you understand the conditions of the awards. Advise the Financial Aid Office immediately if you receive an award of financial aid from any other source. A change in your resources may affect your financial aid.

If Selected for Verification

The Federal Government and NYCDA randomly select some financial aid applications for verification. If your application is selected for verification, you will receive a letter containing a verification worksheet and instructions on how to submit the required documents. Once the verification process is complete, funds will be disbursed to your account.


If a student applies for Federal financial aid and NYCDA denies their application, students have the right to appeal NYCDA’s decision. Appeal forms are available from our Financial Aid Office.

Consumer Information from the U.S. Department of Education

Many of the specific requirements to gain and retain Federal Aid are found in the publications provided by the U.S. Department of Education, and on their websites: studentaid.ed.gov and ed.gov