How to Apply

Step 1: FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

To apply for Federal financial aid, from the United States government, a student must file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

City College of New York Federal Code - 002688

The FAFSA is used to apply for the following federal financial aid programs:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Work-Study
  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan
  • Federal SEOG (Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant)
  • Federal TEACH grant


  • Students applying for the NY State SEEK program must also file a FAFSA. Also, the FAFSA may be required in order to qualify for certain scholarships.
  • Continuing students can access their federal grant (Pell) and student loan history via National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) by using their FSA ID in order to plan accordingly for the future.
There are two basic ways to file a FAFSA

1. Submit a FAFSA via the Internet, at 

  • This is the easiest and quickest way to submit a FAFSA by using "prior-prior year" income information (two years in the past) read more.
  • Students and parents must obtain an "FSA ID" in order to complete and electronically sign a FAFSA.
  • Remember to include CCNY's Federal code 002688 on the FAFSA applcation.
  • Use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is preferred to easily import your tax information directly to the FAFSA.
  • In approximately one week, students will receive an email, with a link, to view their FAFSA results, this is called the Student Aid Report (SAR).

2. Students who want to file a paper FAFSA by mail must print the application from Print a FAFSA

  • Students will receive a SAR in the mail in approximately three weeks.


To apply for TAP (Tuition Assistance Program), or APTS (Aid for Part-time Study), which is financial aid from New York State, a student must file a separate application.

How to apply for TAP
  1. Complete a FAFSA at: and include at least one college located in New York State.
  2. After completing the FAFSA, click on the link provided to be transferred to the NYS HESC website or go to HESC
  3. Include CCNY college code: 1411 (Undergraduate only) on the TAP application.
  4. Follow the instructions to create or use your HESC PIN to complete your application online.
  5. In approximately ten business days, you will receive an email with instructions on how to check on the status of your TAP application.


  • If you have graduated from a high school outside the United States, you must meet the "Ability to Benefit" requirement by the deadline for each semester. For more details, contact the Evaluation and Testing Office.
  • Effective starting from the 2010-11 academic year, with the exception of veterans, graduate students can no longer receive TAP.
  • Students (and the parents of dependent students) must be legal New York State residents and must have resided in New York State at least twelve (12) continuous months prior to the semester of their award.

All application processing and correction requirements must be completed before a TAP and/or Pell Grant can be used toward their tuition bill. Students with confirmed Federal Pell Grants will receive Pell book advances at the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters.

For more details regarding TAP/APTS, additional types of New York State financial aid and eligibility requirements go to: New York State Higher Education Services Corporation.

Excelsior Scholarship:

New York State residents may apply for the Excelsior Scholarship. Learn more

Step 3: After You Apply

  • Wait 3-5 business days after submitting a FAFSA to receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) via email.
  • Remember to include the CCNY Federal School Code (002688) on FAFSA and NY State Code (1411) on the TAP applications.
  • Follow up and make corrections on your FAFSA and/or TAP applications if you need to. Failure to follow up may result in a delayed disbursement of financial aid funds.
  • Always review your CUNYfirst "To Do List: located under your “Task and Holds"” to make sure you do not have any unresolved items. 
  • Verification documents must be sent through student forms  located in "Task and Holds"
  • PLUS Loan credit check and additional loan request forms are available on CCNY Financial aid website.  Submission of completed loan request are sent to our CCNY secure portal
  • Check your CCNY (Citymail) email account often for important financial aid information.

What is a Student Aid Report (SAR)?

The SAR is a report that summarizes the FAFSA information and indicates a student's Expected Family contribution (EFC). The EFC determines the amount of Federal Pell grant funds a student may qualify for. It is also used to determine eligibility for other "need based" federal programs, such as Work-Study, SEOG, Subsidized Direct Loans, and Perkins Loans. Every SAR includes a "Comments" page. It is important for a student to read this section completely to see if there are any documents that must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office. Required documents should be submitted as soon as possible to avoid processing delays. Documents submitted must be photocopies, since they will become part of a student's permanent file and will not be returned. If one of the comments on a student's SAR indicates that they have been selected for "Verification", no federal aid will be disbursed until the process is completed. Verification forms can be printed from the Financial Aid website.

Again, it is important to submit documents in a timely fashion so that any necessary corrections to the FAFSA can be made. A delay in submitting documents may cause a delay in the disbursement of financial aid funds. Students who do not receive their SAR as expected should call 800-4-FEDAID, (800-433-3243), to check on the status of their FAFSA.

2024-2025 FAFSA Simplification (Application for summer 2024 and beyond)

FAFSA Simplification

The FAFSA Simplification Act has recently been passed by Congress to streamline the financial aid process for students and families. Among other key changes this legislation will reduce the total number of questions students see when filing the FAFSA, attempts to clarify the questions that will be asked, and will aim to increase Federal Pell Grant eligibility. While in some cases the FAFSA simplification could increase some students’ financial aid eligibility, others may see a decrease in aid. Key changes that can impact the application process and resulting financial aid offers for students are outlined in the FAQs below.

What is FAFSA simplification?

FAFSA simplification changes include the first major redesign of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) process in over 40 years, along with updates to the back end systems that process and store federal student aid application data. The goal is to make applying for federal student aid easier for students. FAFSA simplification implements provisions of the amended Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act and the FAFSA Simplification Act.

Most of the changes related to FAFSA simplification will begin with the 2024-2025 application.

What is the Better FAFSA Better Future campaign?

The Better FAFSA Better Future campaign will communicate FAFSA simplification changes and provide information and resources to aid in the adaptation of these changes.

What are the Benefits of FAFSA simplification?

The benefits of FAFSA simplification include:

  • a more streamlined application process
  • expanded eligibility for federal student aid
  • reduced barriers for certain student populations (e.g., homeless and unaccompanied youth, incarcerated students, English language learners, and students from low-income backgrounds)
  • better user experience for the FAFSA form.

What major changes will FAFSA simplification introduce?

Significant changes to the application process include changes to the FAFSA form, how
students and families complete the application, and the eligibility calculation.

  • The FAFSA form will be updated and streamlined to improve access.
  • The FAFSA form will be expanded to the 11 most common languages spoken by English learner students and their parents. Language-specific resources and support will also be available from FSA Information Center.
  • The form will be consumer-tested with prospective first-generation students and families, as well as students and families from low-income backgrounds.
  • The form will include new demographic questions about an applicant’s gender and race/ethnicity.
  • Foster, homeless, and unaccompanied youth—as well as applicants who cannot provide parental information—will be able to complete the form with a provisional independent student determination and receive a calculated Student Aid Index (SAI). Students who have their independent student status approved by a financial aid administrator will also be eligible for a renewal of their dependency status in subsequent years if their circumstances remain unchanged.
  • Rather than importing their tax information using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, applicants will consent to providing their Federal Tax Information (FTI) via a direct data share with the IRS. This enhanced data sharing simplifies the applicant’s experience.
  • Eligibility for federal student aid will be expanded in the following ways:
    • Selective Service and drug conviction questions will be eliminated to reduce applicant barriers.
    • New methodology will be introduced to calculate and determine applicant  eligibility. The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be replaced with the Student Aid Index (SAI).
    • The new need-analysis formula allows for a negative SAI calculation and implements separate eligibility criteria for Federal Pell Grants.
    • Federal Pell Grant access will be expanded and linked to family size and federal poverty levels, which will allow more students and families from low-income backgrounds to qualify.
    • Federal Pell Grant access will be restored to incarcerated students under specific rules and programs.

How will schools be impacted?

New requirements and calculations will modify the roles and responsibilities for schools.

Notable changes include:

  • calculation of the Student Aid Index (SAI)
  • new cost of attendance (COA) definitions
  • updates to consumer information that must be publicly available to applicants and families
  • simplified verification selection criteria
  • provisions for Financial Aid Administrators to exercise professional judgment in
    addressing an applicant’s special circumstances that may impact their eligibility
    for federal student aid.

When will FAFSA simplification be implemented?

FAFSA simplification will be implemented in phases. Certain changes began in the 2021–2022 Award Year and full implementation of major provisions will occur during the 2024–2025 Award Year.

Where can I read through the full legislative texts?


  • Families will now use "prior-prior year" income information (two years in the past), to complete a FAFSA.  The 2023-2024 FAFSA, families will use 2021 income/tax information;  Watch Video

Using the "IRS Data Retrieval Tool" is the preferred way to enter your 2021 income information on your 2023-2024 FAFSA. You are advised to wait for three (3) weeks after you have filed your federal tax return electronically or eight (8) weeks if you mailed it, before attempting to use the "IRS Data Retrieval Tool".

  • Starting on October 1st every year, you must reapply for federal and New York state financial aid. Early FAFSA filers are more likely to receive the earliest Federal Work-Study, Federal Pell, and SEOG awards.

How to fill out the FAFSA - Video on what you will need to complete the application in 30 minutes or less.
FAFSA on the web worksheet - A preview of the questions regarding the free online application.
Will I quality for financial aid? - CUNY Financial Aid Estimator
7 Easy Steps to the FAFSA - A comprehensive video guide to the FAFSA application.
National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) - Students can access their federal grant (Pell) and student loan history by using their FAFSA ID.

Paying for college - A CUNY Guide to Financial Aid and the application process.
Pagar Para la Universidad - Una guia de CUNY sobre la ayuda finaciaria y el proceso de application

Last Updated: 01/22/2024 12:08