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Frequently Asked questions

Office of Financial Aid

Frequently Asked questions


Frequently asked financial aid questions:

Excelsior Scholarship
1. How do I know if I qualify for financial aid?


Students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their eligibility for Federal financial aid. The FAFSA will help determine whether you have "financial need" for grants and/or loans.

To qualify for Federal student aid a student must:

  • be U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • be enrolled in a degree/certificate granting program
  • be in good academic standing
  • not be in default of previous student loans
  • not owe a repayment of any previous Federal student aid awards

Use the CUNY Financial Aid Estimator to see what you may qualify for.  

Read the CUNY "Paying for College" brochure.

The Guide to Federal Student Aid can provide additional information. 

Once you receive your CUNY financial aid award letter, refer to this guide - 2017-18 CUNY Financial Aid Award Guide 

2. How do I apply for Federal and New York State financial aid?
3. What are the tuition and fees charges at City College?
4. What is the "Cost of attendance"?


The City University of New York (CUNY) calculates "average living expenses" for students living in New York City.  Items included in the calculation are room and board, transportation, books and supplies, and personal expenses.  Average living expenses are added to a student's actual tuition and fee expenses, to determine their "Cost of Attendance".

Fall/Spring 2017-2018 Expenses*
Room & Board
Books & Supplies
Student living with parent
Student living away from parent**

As an example, the Fall 2017 - Spring 2018 tuition and fees charge, for an in-state undegraduate, is approximately $6,738.  If the student indicated that he/she would be "living with parent" on their FAFSA, the estimated living expenses would be $9,786.  Therefore, the student's CUNY "Cost of Attendance" would be $16,524.

Each institution determines the average expenses for their students. The "Cost of Attendance" can vary based on a student's circumstances.  A student's total financial aid "package" cannot exceed their "Cost of Attendance".

The basic CUNY budgets do not include the expense of living at the CCNY Towers residence hall.  Students in the Towers will have their "Cost of Attendance" adjusted for the additional housing cost. For more information go to: The Towers at CCNY

* All budgets include $58 for possible student loan fees.

5. When do I apply for financial aid?

Students must apply for financial aid each academic year.  At City College, the academic year consists of the Summer, Fall and Spring semesters.

Financial aid applications are available in early January for the upcoming academic year.

Students should apply as early as possible using their family's most accurate income and/or tax return information from the previous year.  For example, for the 2015-16 FAFSA, student's were required to report their family's 2014 income information. 

Refer to the federal financial aid filing instructions:  Filling Out the FAFSA

Financial aid priority will be given to students who file their FAFSA and complete the application process by March 15 of each year.

6. How much financial aid can I receive?

The amount of financial aid that a student receives is determined by the availability of funds as well as "financial need". Financial need is determined by the following formula:

Cost of Attendance - Expected Family Contribution = Financial Need

  • The "Cost of Attendance" is an amount that includes average living expenses, tuition and fees, books and supplies, transportation.
  • The "Expected Family Contribution"(EFC), is determined by the information reported on the FAFSA. It is calculated using a formula established by the U.S. Congress.
  • The resulting "Financial Need" determines your eligibility for various state and federal aid programs.
7. What are some of the financiald aid awards I can receive?


TAP Information (New York state residents)

TUITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (TAP) - is a New York State education grant which assists full-time (12 or more credits), undergraduate students with their tuition costs. You must be a legal resident of New York State. (If you are considered to be a dependent student your parents must also be New York State residents.) You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. Students and/or their parent(s) must also meet certain income criteria and must not have exhausted their TAP eligibility, which for most students is eight (8) semesters.  If you receive a TAP award, the money goes directly to the college for payment of your tuition.


APTS Information (New York state residents)

AID for PART-TIME STUDY (APTS) - is a New York State tuition grant for undergraduate students who are New York State residents pursuing a degree on a part-time basis. (If you are considered to be a dependent student your parent(s) must also be New York State residents. You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. Students must enroll for at least 6 but fewer than 12 credits (including a minimum of 3 degree credits). Students and/or their parent(s) must also meet certain income criteria and must not have exhausted their undergraduate TAP eligibility. Award amounts vary based on the availability of NY state funds. If you receive an APTS award, the money goes directly to the college for payment of your tuition.

To be considered for APTS you must complete a TAP application and the CUNY Supplement form in your "To Do List" on CUNYfirst.


Federal PELL Grant Information

FEDERAL PELL GRANT - is a federal grant that can be used to pay your tuition and fees. If your tuition and fees are paid by other means your Pell award can be used to purchase books and supplies, and for other school expenses. You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. You must be enrolled in a degree or certificate program and meet income criteria to qualify.


SEEK Information

SEARCH for EDUCATION, ELEVATION and KNOWLEDGE (SEEK) - along with tutoring and other support services this New York State program may award a grant for books and fees along with a small stipend. A student can only be accepted into the SEEK program as an incoming freshman.


Campus-based programs (Federal Work-Study,  Federal SEOG and Federal Perkins loan)

Campus-based aid is awarded in late March, by the City University Office of Student Financial Assistance through a process called "packaging". 

Students must have a completed and "accepted" FAFSA by March 15 of each year in order to be considered for these awards. ("Accepted" means all required documents have been submitted and the student's financial aid status is "Completed".)


Federal Work-Study at CCNY

FEDERAL WORK-STUDY- is a program that provides part-time jobs to students who have financial need.  The yearly award amounts are determined by CUNY. Jobs are available both on and off-campus. You must indicate on your FAFSA that you are interested in receiving a work-study award. Funds are limited, so it is important to complete a FAFSA as early as possible, preferably by March 15.


Federal SEOG

The federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), is awarded to students, when CUNY awards its campus-based aid funds in early March.  Students must be eligible for a federal Pell Grant to receive FSEOG.  The yearly award amounts are determined by CUNY. Funds are limited, so it is important to complete a FAFSA as early as possible, preferably by March 15.


Federal Perkins loan

FEDERAL PERKINS LOAN - is a low interest loan awarded by the college to students who demonstrate financial need. It can be used for tuition or other educationally related expenses. Funds are limited.  The yearly award amounts are determined by CUNY.

Students must begin to repay this loan to the college nine (9) months after they: 1) graduate, 2) drop below half-time or 3) are no longer enrolled for classes. (Not available to freshmen.)


Federal Direct Loan Information (Subsidized, Unsubsidized, Parent PLUS and Grad PLUS)

WILLIAM D. FORD FEDERAL DIRECT LOAN PROGRAM - provides federally insured, low interest, long term loans to students or parents to help cover the costs of attending college. The federal government is the lender (not a bank or other financial institution). The federal loan funds are disbursed directly to the student or the parent through the college. Student loan repayment begins six (6) months after: 1) a student graduates, 2) a student is no longer enrolled or 3) a student has been less than half-time.

Feel free to view infromation regarding:

Please visit  Federal Direct Loans for more details.


8. What are the academic requirements to qualify for financial aid?


There are academic requirements that must be met in order to qualify for and to remain eligible for federal and New York State financial aid. Students must maintain the required GPA, (Grade point Average), and complete the required number of credits per semester. Failure to meet "Satisfactory Academic Progress" (SAP) requirements will result in the suspension of a student's federal and/or New York state aid.  Please review the charts below:

9. Am I an "Independent Student"?


For 2015 -2016 federal financial aid, a student is considered independent if he or she can answer "Yes" to any one of the thirteen independence questions: (Students may be required to provide supportive documentation.) The first eight questions are:

  1. Were you born before January 1, 1992?
  2. As of today, are you married? (Answer "Yes" if you are separated, but not divorced.)
  3. At the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, will you be working on a master's or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, Ph.D., Ed.D., graduate certificate, etc.)?
  4. Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed forces for purposes other than training?
  5. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  6. Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016?
  7. Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2016?
  8. At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?

(See the 2015-16 FAFSA for five additional independence questions.)

If you answer "No" to all thirteen questions you are not considered to be an independent student for purposes of receiving federal financial aid. You are required to provide parental information.

Dependent students with unusual family circumstances may request to be declared independent. An "Independence Appeal" request form is available in the Financial Aid office. (Note: The federal government does not consider a student who is "self-supporting" and not living with parents to be an unusual circumstance in and of itself.)

10. Is there a tuition payment plan?


Yes. As a convenience, City College offers the option of making tuition payments on a monthly basis through the "CUNY Tuition Payment Plan" . The CUNY Tuition Payment Plan is an interest-free alternative to a lump-sum payment at bill time.

To enroll in the plan or to obtain more information please call NELNET at: 888-470-6014.

11. How can I apply for scholarships?


The City College of New York Scholarship Coordinator is located in the Admissions office. Scholarship Information

For a free scholarship search, go to

12. How will a scholarship effect my financial aid?


Students who are receiving federal financial aid cannot exceed their "cost of attendance". All of a student's scholarships must be considered in their eligibility calculation. When a scholarship causes an "overaward" the Financial Aid office may have to reduce certain types of federal aid. Federal work-study awards, loans, and/or SEOG grants may have to be reduced or returned, if the funds have already been disbursed. (In some instances, when federal aid must be returned, a student will then owe the college for unpaid tuition and/or fees.) A federal Pell grant, however, will never be reduced.

13. How will I receive my financial aid payments?


A student can receive their financial aid funds in one of three ways:

  1.  A check is mailed to the student's home address as listed on their Financial Aid records.
  2.  A student can make arrangements for direct deposit with the Bursar.  Direct deposit is the safest and quickest way to receive financial aid funds, therefore, it is the preferred method of payment. Return the completed direct deposit  form to the Bursar's office, Wille Administration Bldg, Room 103.
  3.  A student can sign up for the CUNY Scholar debit card.  (Note: A new debit card program will be available in January 2016, information will be posted as soon as
     it  becomes available.)
14. What types of aid are available for graduate students?


Please see:

1. Graduate Student Financial Aid

2. Teach Grant Information (For certain Education majors):  CCNY TEACH Grant Information

15. Is there financial aid for international students?


The only service the financial aid office is able to provide for international students is to certify private student loan applications. Most international students will be required to provide a co-signer. They must find a lender on their own. A search on the internet for "Alternative student loans" or "Private student loans" should provide helpful lender information.

CCNY International Student Information

Federal Department of Education Information for International Students

16. Can I use financial aid for study abroad?


New York State Aid

The New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) may be used for Study Abroad programs.

Students must be enrolled full-time and at least twelve (12) of their credits must be contributory to
their program of study. Tuition must be paid at the City College of New York or another New York state college or university.  

A student’s TAP award will be contingent on verification that the courses they register for at the foreign institution are contributory toward their program of study as well as meeting all other eligibility criteria.

TAP will not cover tuition when City College has an agreement to forward paid tuition funds to a foreign institution.


Federal Aid

Federal financial aid may be used for study abroad programs.  Direct loans and Pell grants are the types of aid most commonly used.

To qualify for a Direct Student loan students must be enrolled for at least six (6) credits. 

To qualify for a Federal Pell Grant, students must be enrolled for at least one (1) credit. However, the award amount would be prorated based on the number of credits.

Students must meet federal satisfactory academic progress requirements and all other eligibility requirements.  

Students who enroll for a non-CUNY study abroad program must submit a Consortium Agreement form as part of the study abroad approval process.

17. How do I request a tax return transcript?



You can order an IRS Tax Return Transcript or Verification of Non-Filing Letter online at or by phone at  (800) 908-9946.

You will need your Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Tax Identification Number (TIN), date of birth, and the exact address used on your latest tax return.


If the DRT was not used or your family was ineligible to use the DRT and your FAFSA was chosen for “Verification,” you must obtain a “Tax Return Transcript” from the IRS and submit it to the Financial Aid office (with any other required forms and documents).