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Financial Aid Overview


Providing students with access to a quality education, regardless of their financial means, has always been CUNY’s mission. Since 1847, CUNY has lifted generations of families, and educated millions of people.

The cost of a college education is an important investment that should be carefully considered. When you look at the quality and cost of a CUNY education, you see that it is a tremendous value. More than 65 percent of CUNY undergraduates finish their degree free of federal student loan debt.

CUNY students dream big, work hard and accomplish much — often winning the most prestigious academic awards in the nation. If you think you will need assistance to pay for educational expenses, we recommend that you apply for financial aid. Educational expenses include tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. While you and your family have the primary responsibility of paying for your education, funding is available from the federal, state and city government (as well as from CUNY) to help you.

New York state’s continuing commitment to support CUNY students in successfully completing college with little to no debt is evident in the launch of the Excelsior Scholarship. The Excelsior Scholarship provides eligible New York residents with the opportunity to receive state support for their tuition costs while attending CUNY. Now even more families can achieve the dream of a world-class education, free from the burden of student loans.

Learn more at

Types of Financial Assistance

Grants – Money that does not have to be repaid and usually is awarded on the basis of financial need.

Scholarships – Money that does not have to be repaid and usually is awarded on the basis of academic merit.

Loans – Money that is borrowed for college and must be repaid with interest. Work-Study – Money earned from a job provided by the Financial Aid Office at your college.

Financial Aid Applications

To determine whether you are eligible for financial aid, complete the following applications each year:

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Visit to apply for federal financial aid.

TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) Visit to apply for this financial aid program for New York State residents.

Apply for Financial Aid

  1. Prepare to Apply

    Gather records of your and your parent(s’)* income and assets. For the 2020–2021 academic year, these records may include your (and your parents’, if applicable) 2018 tax returns and W-2 form(s), Social Security numbers, and other records of income and assets. Get free information and assistance from a school counselor, the Financial Aid Office at the college you plan to attend, or the U.S. Department of Education at or call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

  2. Get a FSA ID–

    A FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log in, sign and make corrections to your FAFSA. You and at least one of your parents will each need a FSA ID. Be sure to save your FSA ID as you will need it to reapply and access your information each year. You can also complete your FAFSA using the myStudentAid Mobile App.

  3. Complete the FAFSA–

    Applying for federal student aid is free. You can apply for the following academic year starting Oct. 1 of your senior year in high school, even before you have been admitted to CUNY. To apply visit For free help with completing your FAFSA call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

IRS Data Retrieval Tool

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows you and your parents to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students and parents may transfer their tax data directly into their FAFSA. It is highly recommended that you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for several reasons:

¢ It is the easiest way to provide your tax data.

¢ It is the best way of ensuring that your FAFSA has accurate tax information.

¢ You will not need to provide a copy of tax transcripts or returns to your college. *If you are a student currently in foster care, or have a history in the foster care system, please contact your agency for assistance.

  1. Complete the Application for New York State-based Aid

    After you complete the FAFSA, you will be taken to a confirmation page; click on the state application link to apply for New York State-based financial aid. If you miss the link to the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) application, you will receive an email from NYS Higher Education Service Corporation (HESC) after your FAFSA is processed, with information on how to apply for TAP. In addition to the TAP application, eligible students should file an Excelsior Scholarship application at by the published deadline.

  2. Receive a Student Aid Report (SAR)

    A few days after you complete the FAFSA, you will receive an email with a link to your Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR contains a summary of your FAFSA information and a calculation of your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – the number used to determine your federal student aid eligibility. Review your SAR to see if additional information or corrections are needed. You can also access your SAR at

  3. Verify Your Data

    The Federal Processor selects a certain number of applicants for a verification process. If you are selected (which will be indicated on your SAR), you will need to submit requested documents to the Financial Aid Office at the CUNY college you will be attending to verify the data you have supplied on your FAFSA.

  4. Receive Your Financial Aid Award Notification

    Once your financial aid applications are completed and you demonstrate financial need, any CUNY colleges where you have been accepted will send you an award notification to indicate the financial aid programs for which you qualify.

Evaluate College Costs and Financial Aid Packages

One of the most important factors when selecting a college is whether the institution will meet your educational needs. Additionally, you and your family must consider the cost to attend college when deciding where to enroll.

Cost of Attendance (COA)

When planning for college, you need to review the Cost of Attendance (COA), which includes tuition and fees, housing (room and board), transportation, books, supplies and personal expenses. If you are a New York state resident and you plan to live at home, the estimated cost for attending CUNY full time for nine months includes tuition and fees plus approximately $9,900 for all other costs. If you plan to live away from home, the estimated cost is approximately $22,500.

Expected Family

Contribution (EFC) Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the amount you and your family can reasonably contribute toward yearly educational costs based on the information you supply on your FAFSA. Factors such as your family’s income, number in household, certain assets, taxes paid and the number of family members attending college are used to compute your EFC.

Your EFC is used to determine the amount of federal financial aid you may qualify for, such as Pell, Federal Work-Study and subsidized federal loans. In addition, the EFC can be used to determine your eligibility for various college scholarships. For federal financial aid, your EFC is calculated the same way for every college.

Financial Need

Financial need is the difference between the Cost of Attendance and your Expected Family Contribution.

COA – EFC = Financial Need

CUNY Net Price Calculator

To help determine the financial aid you may receive, a Net Price Calculator is available on the CUNY website. This tool calculates an estimated financial aid award package along with an estimated cost of tuition and fees. The Net Price Calculator also helps compare costs at CUNY to other institutions to determine which colleges are most affordable for you. Visit www.cuny. edu/financialaid to access the Net Price Calculator.

Financial Aid Package

Based on your financial need, CUNY constructs a financial aid package for you. The financial aid package may include various types of financial aid to help cover all or part of your college costs. If you have financial need, you may also be eligible for grants, work-study and subsidized loans.

Programs to Help Finance Your Education

CUNY Programs

College Scholarships

Each CUNY college offers a variety of academic and merit-based scholarships. To apply for scholarships at individual CUNY colleges, students are generally required to complete a FAFSA and, sometimes, an individual scholarship application.

Tuition Payment Plan

CUNY colleges participate in a monthly payment plan to help families budget tuition and fee expenses.

For details about the program contact Nelnet at 1-888-470-6014 or the Office of the Bursar at your CUNY college.

Peter F. Vallone Academic Scholarship

Peter F. Vallone Academic Scholarship is funded by the New York City Council. It is awarded to eligible NYC high school students who have proven their ability to succeed academically. All students who apply to CUNY are automatically considered for the Scholarship, which will provide $700 for the 2019-20 academic year and is subject to change. To qualify, you must:

¢ Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen

¢ Be a resident of New York City

¢ Graduate from a New York City high school with at least an 80 GPA

¢ Enroll at a CUNY college as a full-time student within one year of graduating from high school

¢ Register as a full-time student each semester and maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative average

¢ Attend CUNY before attending any other postsecondary institution

Outside Scholarships

There are thousands of private organizations that provide scholarship assistance to college students. These scholarships are based on a variety of factors. To search for scholarships, you should use free search services such as: You do not need to pay someone to help you with your scholarship search.

New York State Programs

To be considered for New York State programs you must:

¢ Meet residency requirements defined by NY State

¢ Submit the FAFSA and TAP applications

¢ Be admitted into a degree program

¢ Make academic progress toward your degree

¢ Not be in default on a federal student loan or owe a refund of financial aid

Programs to Help Finance Your Education (cont.)

Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)

TAP is a New York State grant for students attending college in New York on a fulltime basis. TAP grants are based on the applicant’s and his/her family’s New York State net taxable income. Undergraduate TAP awards range from $500 to $5,165 annually. Prior to completing your TAP application you must first file the FAFSA.

Senator José Peralta New York State DREAM Act

The DREAM Act gives undocumented and other students access to NYS administered grants and scholarships that support their education costs. The Act opens the doors of higher education to thousands of students, providing access to the new Excelsior Scholarship, the Tuition Assistance Program, as well as other state-administered scholarships that were not previously available to them. The Application and additional information can be found at www.

Part-Time Assistance for New York State Residents

New York State provides two financial aid programs for students pursuing a degree on a part-time basis (6 to 11 credits per semester): the Part-Time Tuition Assistance Program and the Aid for Part-Time Study Program. The amount of each grant is determined by the student’s family income, number of credits taken and the availability of funds from New York State. In addition to the TAP application you must submit a CUNY supplement form. For more information visit and click the link for Federal and State Grants.

CUNY Support Programs: SEEK, CD, ASAP and ACE

SEEK (Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge) is a New York State program available at CUNY four-year colleges which is designed to assist students who are both academically and financially disadvantaged. SEEK students benefit from additional opportunities for needed financial support. CD (College Discovery) is the companion program funded by New York City at CUNY community colleges. Admission into the SEEK or CD program is part of the CUNY admission process.

ASAP (Accelerated Study in Associate Program) and ACE (Accelerate, Complete and Engage) is offered at CUNY colleges to allow motivated students to complete degree more quickly and efficiently.

Excelsior Scholarship

The Excelsior Scholarship enables eligible New York residents to receive state support for any tuition costs which are not covered by other financial aid. To be eligible for the 2020-2021 academic year, your 2018 household federal adjusted gross income must be $125,000 or less. Students must file the FAFSA, TAP and Excelsior Scholarship applications by the published deadline and attend a CUNY college full time (minimum 12 credits) and complete 30 credits per academic year. Awardees must agree to reside in New York State and not be employed in any other state for the number of years equal to the duration they received the Excelsior Scholarship. Please visit scholarships/excelsior-scholarshipfaqs/ for more information on eligibility and requirements of the Excelsior Scholarship.

State Scholarships and Awards

New York State offers a number of special scholarships for students who excel in high school or plan to pursue particular academic objectives. For information about these scholarships visit and choose Pay then Grants, Scholarships and Loan Programs to learn more.

Federal Student Aid Programs

To be eligible for federal financial aid programs, students must:

¢ Be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen

¢ Fill out a FAFSA¢ Gain admission to a degree-granting program

¢ Maintain good academic standing and make satisfactory progress toward the completion of a degree

¢ Register with the Selective Service (for males between the ages of 18 and 25)

¢ Not be in default on a federal student loan or owe a refund of financial aid

¢ Register for at least six credits; Pell Grants are an exception to this rule and can be awarded if you are registered for as little as one credit.

Federal Pell Grants

For the 2023–2024 academic year, Pell Grants provide up to $7,395 per year and are awarded to part-time and full-time undergraduate students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. The amount of Federal Pell Grant Funds you may receive is limited to 12 full-time semesters or the part-time equivalent. The Federal Pell Grant will provide additional funding for students attending summer sessions on at least a half-time basis. Contact your college’s Financial Aid Office for more information.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)

If you demonstrate exceptional financial need, CUNY may award you funds from FSEOG. Funds are limited and preference is given to students who receive a Pell Grant.

Programs to Help Finance Your Education (cont.)

Federal Work-Study (FWS)

The Federal Work-Study program provides you with an opportunity to be placed into a part-time job that accommodates your academic schedule. If you are awarded Federal Work-Study, you may be placed in an eligible off-campus or on-campus job. Each college’s Financial Aid Office can help you find a Federal Work-Study job.


Federal Direct Loans

The Direct Loan program allows you to borrow funds from the federal government to help cover your cost of attendance. Like all other loans, these loans must be repaid with interest.

There are two types of Direct Loans available, Subsidized and Unsubsidized. To qualify for a Subsidized Direct Loan you must demonstrate financial need. Interest is not charged on these loans as long as you are enrolled at least half time but will accrue interest after you graduate or drop below half time.

If you do not demonstrate financial need, you may still qualify for an Unsubsidized Direct Loan. However, interest will begin to accrue as soon as the loan is disbursed.

To apply for a Federal Direct Loan, you must:

¢ Complete the FAFSA

¢ Request the loan directly from the Office of Financial Aid at the college Programs to Help Finance Your Education (cont.)

¢ Complete an entrance interview, which provides you with information regarding the loan’s terms and conditions Additional information:

¢ You must sign a promissory note.

¢ If you request a Federal Direct Loan, you may decline the loan later by notifying the Financial Aid Office at the college.

¢ You do not need a co-signer to qualify for a Federal Direct Loan, and there is no credit check.

¢ The Interest rate for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans issued through June 30, 2020, is 4.53 percent.

¢ Repayment periods vary from 10 to 30 years.

¢ Repayment begins six months after you graduate, leave college or drop below half-time study. Federal PLUS Loans for Parents Your parents may be eligible to apply for a Federal Plus Loan to help pay your college expenses. You, the dependent student, must complete the FAFSA before your parent(s) can apply for a PLUS Loan.

Additional information:

¢ PLUS loan borrowers are subject to credit checks.

¢ For the 2019–2020 academic year the interest rate on Federal PLUS Loans is 7.08 percent.

¢ The interest rate may be recalculated on July 1, each year.

¢ Contact the Office of Financial Aid at the college for more information about Federal PLUS Loans.

¢ Repayment on PLUS Loans begins 30 days after disbursement. Your parent(s) can defer payment as long as you are enrolled at least half time, although interest will continue to accrue.

Veteran Education Programs

CUNY welcomes and supports veterans, reservists and their family members. There are programs to help veterans finance their education from the federal and New York State governments. For more information on these benefits and how to apply for them, visit and choose, Financing Your Education.

Federal Income Tax Credits and Deductions

There are tax credits available to help you offset the costs of higher education by reducing the amount of your income tax. Certain borrowers can receive a tax deduction for the interest actually paid on student loans for postsecondary education expenses. For information on these benefits visit to view IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.

Maintaining Eligibility for Aid


To qualify for financial aid you must begin attending your classes. Attendance information is collected from your instructors and is used to determine whether you began attendance in each of your classes. The credits for unattended classes will not be counted when calculating your enrollment status for determining your financial aid eligibility.


Federal financial aid is awarded with the expectation that you will attend school for the entire period for which the awards were intended. If you withdraw from all of your classes before you have completed the semester, the college will determine the portion of your federal awards you are entitled to receive according to a prescribed attendance formula. Any unearned disbursed portion of the aid will need to be repaid to the college/U.S. Department of Education. Withdrawing from some or all of your classes may also impact your eligibility for New York State financial aid for the current or subsequent semester(s).

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

In accordance with federal and state guidelines and CUNY policy, you must be making satisfactory progress in your program of study in order to remain eligible for federal and state awards. Your academic record will be evaluated at least once each year according to the satisfactory progress standards established for each financial aid program. Please see your college’s website for more detailed information regarding these standards.

Financial Aid Lifetime Limits

The amount of Federal Pell Grant Funds you may receive is limited to 12 full-time semesters or the part-time equivalent. New York State TAP is limited to a total of 8 semesters, and for some programs you may receive up to 10 semesters.

Information contained in this booklet is accurate at the time of publication.

FAFSA and TAP School Codes

When filling out your FAFSA and TAP applications, you must provide a college code for each CUNY college where you wish to have your information sent. The FAFSA and TAP codes for the individual CUNY colleges are listed below.

FAFSA and TAP School Codes

CUNY Offices of Financial Aid Contact Information

Visit and click on Financial Aid Contacts

Four-Year Colleges

Baruch College 151 E. 25th St., Room 880 New York, NY 10010 (646) 312-1360

Brooklyn College

2900 Bedford Ave. West Quad Center, Room 308 Brooklyn, NY 11210 (718) 951-5051

The City College of New York & The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education

160 Convent Ave. Administration Bldg.,Room 104 New York, NY 10031 (212) 650-6656

College of Staten Island

2800 Victory Blvd. Building 2A, Room 401 Staten Island, NY 10314 (718) 982-2030

Hunter College

695 Park Ave., Room 241 North New York, NY 10065 (212) 772-4820

John Jay College of Criminal Justice

524 West 59th St. New York, NY 10019 North Building Room 1280 (212) 237-8149

Lehman College

250 Bedford Park Blvd. West Shuster Hall, Room 136 Bronx, NY 10468 (718) 960-8545

Medgar Evers College

1637 Bedford Ave., Room S108 Brooklyn, NY 11225 (718) 270-6141

New York City College of Technology

300 Jay St. Namm Hall Room, NG-13 Brooklyn, NY 11201 (718) 260-5700

Queens College

65-30 Kissena Blvd. Jefferson Hall, Room 202 Queens, NY 11367 (718) 997-5102

School of Labor and Urban Studies

Office of Fellowships & Financial Aid c/o CUNY Graduate Center 365 Fifth Avenue, Room 7201 New York, NY 10016 877-428-6942/212-817-7460

School of Professional Studies

119 West 31st Street New York, NY 10001 (646) 664-8270 York College 94-20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd. Room 1M08 Jamaica, NY 11451 (718) 262-2230

Community Colleges

Borough of Manhattan Community College

199 Chambers St., Room N365 New York, NY 10007 (212) 220-1430

Bronx Community College

2155 University Ave. Colston Hall, Room 504 Bronx, NY 10453 (718) 289-5700

Guttman Community College

50 West 40th Street New York, NY 10018 (646) 313-8011

Hostos Community College

120 E. 149th St., Room B112-115 Bronx, NY 10451 (718) 518-6555 Kingsborough

Community College

2001 Oriental Blvd., Room U201 Brooklyn, NY 11235 (718) 368-4644

LaGuardia Community

College 31-10 Thomson Ave., Room C107 Long Island City, NY 11101 (718) 482-7218

Queensborough Community College

222-05 56th Ave. Library Building, Room 409 Bayside, NY 11364 (718) 631- 6367

Have a Question?

If you have questions about the financial aid application process or want to learn more information about the Financial Aid programs available, visit or contact the Financial Aid Office at the CUNY college you plan to attend. For help with your FAFSA or TAP application, refer to the websites and phone numbers listed below.

Useful Websites and Phone Numbers

The City University of New York

CUNY Financial Aid Information

CUNY Scholarship Information

Federal Student Aid

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

Federal Student Aid Information 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)

Federal Student Loan Services

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)

New York State Higher Education Services Corporation

TAP Grant Information 1-888-NYS-HESC (1-888-697-4372)