Eligibility Criteria for Federal Aid


A student must:

Be a student enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an eligible program at an eligible institution; have a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent, [e.g., a GED certificate] or complete his or her state’s requirements applicable to home schooling; pass an approved ability to benefit test (ATB); not be simultaneously enrolled in elementary or secondary school; be a U.S. citizen or national, or an eligible noncitizen; have a valid, correct Social Security Number (SSN); be registered with Selective Service, if required; certify, by signing a Statement of Educational Purpose, that federal student aid will be used only to pay for educational costs; not be in default of a Title IV loan or owe an overpayment on a Title IV grant or Federal Perkins Loan; not have received grants or loans in excess of the annual or aggregate limits; be in good academic standing and maintaining satisfactory academic progress (SAP); not be convicted of possessing or selling illegal drugs while receiving financial aid; and demonstrate financial need.

Student aid is awarded on the basis of need. Need is the difference between the student's estimated cost of attendance including but not limited to tuition, fees, books, transportation, housing and the amount the student and/or his family can afford to pay. For federal student aid programs, a federally approved formula is used to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which is a measure used to calculate the amount that a family is expected to pay toward educational expenses.

The formula calculates the EFC by taking into account:

  • Your total family income and benefits

  • Tax-filing status

  • The number of people in your family

  • The number of family members in college

  • Some of your family’s assets

  • The formula recognizes that only a portion of your and your family’s income and assets may be considered available for educationally related expenses

  • And your dependency status - certain questions on your financial aid application(s) will help determine whether you are a dependent student and must report your parents’ income and resources along with your own, or an independent student who reports only your own (and your spouse’s) income and resources.

Two basic application forms are currently used to process student aid requests:

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to determine an applicant's eligibility for Title IV Aid which includes: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Work Study, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Federal Student Loans.

  • The New York State Student Aid Payment Application

    Application and CUNY Supplement form is used to Apply for New York State aid, such as the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), as well as for payment of other NYS scholarships and grants. A minimum of three weeks is required to process these applications. It is the student's responsibility to review the information contained in the application for completeness and accuracy prior to submitting it online to the processing agent. Deadlines and specific program procedures are made available by the Financial Aid Office.