The New School's Center for New York City Affairs and Capital One Bank update "FAFSA: The How-to-Guide for High School Students and the Adults Who Help Them"

Updates include a Spanish-language version and new information on accurately and efficiently accessing $236 billion available in federal student aid by taking the fear out of the application process
Jan 16, 2014 9:20 AM ET

January 16, 2014 /3BL Media/ - To address the overwhelming student debt crisis and provide access to the more than $236 billion in financial aid available to help students and their families pay for college, the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School and Capital One Bank have released an updated version of "FAFSA: The How-To Guide for High School Students and the Adults Who Help Them."

Financial aid is necessary for many prospective and current college students, but the process of securing it can be complex and confusing and millions of students leave money on the table because they don’t complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA: The How-to Guide aims to take the fear out of the application by decoding the process for the two-thirds of college students that receive financial aid. To further help low-income and first generation college students navigate the complicated process, the How-to Guide will be released in Spanish for the first time. The updated guide is available today at

The How-to Guide serves as a resource to support low-income students and their families, and also serves as a training tool for high school guidance counselors and non-profit professionals. Specifically, it aims to take the fear out of financial aid by decoding the application and answering questions that 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.
  • Address issues that are specific to low-income and immigrant students, who often face daunting barriers in filling out the FAFSA.
  • Determine how to handle sensitive, personal financial information.
  • Navigate timely details about taxes if parents plan to file their tax forms in April, after FAFSA’s required submission in January or February.

To announce the release of the new version of FAFSA: The How-to Guide, The New School and Capital One Bank today hosted a discussion on college affordability with education experts, “Taking the Fear Out of Financial Aid: Making Higher Education Easier to Achieve for NYC Students.” The event featured Dr. Judith Scott-Clayton, Assistant Professor in Economics & Education and Senior Research Associate, Community College Research Center at Columbia University; Carolyn Berkowitz, Managing Vice President, Community Affairs and President, Capital One Foundation; Kim Nauer, co-author of FAFSA: The How-To Guide, and other New York City-based educators and community leaders.

“The FAFSA form is complex, and as new rules and regulations have been developed the form has become more complicated to navigate,” said Dr. Scott-Clayton. “Within the higher education community, we know that there is a need to simplify the application process as this complexity is a barrier to receiving aid. The FAFSA How-to Guide is a resource that provides parents and students exactly what they need – guidance and clarity through a complicated process.”

“College success is a core area of focus because we know that obtaining a college degree has a strong correlation with economic opportunity and can increase one's earning potential by up to $1 million over the course of his or her career, ” said Berkowitz. “Financing college is one of the main barriers to completing college, which is why we’ve partnered with The New School to develop the FAFSA How-to Guide. By providing a practical tool to help families access student financial aid, especially those in underserved communities, we can create a solid foundation for students to gain a college degree and career success.”

 “The FAFSA form and financial aid process can be intimidating and confusing for all kinds of students and families. But it is particularly daunting for low-income students or those who are the first in their family to go to college. The FAFSA questions can be confusing and the financial process is complicated,” said Nauer. “The FAFSA How-to Guide answers students’ most common questions and is designed to be friendly and easy to read. It is also a great resource for guidance counselors and others who help students through the college application process.”

The updated FAFSA How-to Guide is now available for high school students, families and guidance counselors throughout the country in print and online at The guide is available in English and Spanish.

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

About Capital One
Capital One Financial Corporation, headquartered in McLean, Virginia, is a Fortune 500 company with more than 900 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.

Kim Nauer (646) 942-8414

Angela Solomon (212) 834-1949