In the past, Joe Robach’s office has hosted Financial Aid Roundtables.  These events are geared toward parents of middle school students in an effort to help them save for college.   At each round table (held in both the Towns of Greece and Brighton), there was a representative from New York’s 529 program, a representative from Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) and an individual that had experience working in a college financial aid office.  The forum was moderated by Joe Robach or someone from his office.  Some of the topics discussed at Joe Robach’s (R-Rochester NY) financial aid forum were about college loans (both federal and private); grants and scholarships; and how to best save for college.  A representative from 529 College Savings Program talked about the many benefits of opening an account.  The 529 College Savings Program is a tax-advantaged savings plan that enables people to invest for college.  The money saved in this account can be used for room-and-board expenses, books, supplies and other college related expenses.   New York’s 529 College Savings Program is open to any US citizen or resident alien who has a valid social security or tax ID number.   At the Joe Robach office financial aid forum, there were also a lot of questions and information provided about scholarships and grants.  One of the biggest assistance programs in New York State is the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).  TAP helps eligible New York residents pay tuition at approved schools in New York State.  Depending on the academic year, students can qualify for up to $5000.  TAP does not have to be paid back because it is considered a grant and not a loan.   The forum also discussed the FAFSA or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in detail.  Receiving federal and/or New York State financial aid begins with completing this document.  For more information about the FAFSA, people should contact HESC.  Additionally, individuals looking for more financial aid tips or information on any upcoming forums, please contact the Joe Robach Senate office.