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FAQs

FAFSA Questions

Why is my financial aid award different than in the past?

Where can I go for more information?

When is student aid considered income?

If I am in the National Guard or am an active duty military member, am I considered a veteran for purposes of Billing out the FAFSA?

What if I'm a dependent student but my parents are divorced or separated?

I am entering financial information for my mother and stepfather on the FAFSA. Should I give my father's Social Security Number (SSN) and last name, or my stepfather's?

What should you do if the parent with whom you live is remarried and the stepparent refuses to supply information?

How does a family decide who should be counted in the household size?

My parents separated four months ago. I live with my mother. My parents billed a joint tax return and claimed me as an exemption. Do I report both their incomes or just my mother's?

If I (the student) am separated but billed a joint tax return, how is the information reported?

Who qualifies to be counted in the number in college?

When Does My School Have to Receive the Results From My Application?

What if I don't get a SAR Acknowledgement or SAR, or I need another copy of that form?

I sent in my FAFSA over a week ago but haven't got an email. What should I do?

My parents don't support me and won't contribute to my education, so why am I still considered a "dependent" student?

What should I do if my family has special circumstances that aren't mentioned in the application?

 

TAP Questions

For how many semesters can I receive TAP?

How do I make sure my classes are eligible for Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funding? How much TAP can I receive?

Can I get TAP for repeating a course?

Can I get TAP for remedial courses?

Where I can I get more information about my TAP award?

If I am planning on attending college out-of-state should I fill out the TAP application?

I missed the link to the TAP on the Web site when I completed my FAFSA online. Can I get to it any other way?

 

Work-Study Questions

Are work-study earnings taxable?

How will I be notified if I am awarded?

Do I have to accept the award on CUNYfirst?

If I was not awarded a work-study grant, can I still be considered for an award?

How do I notify CUNY that I would like to begin working during the summer?

Can I begin working during the summer if I am not enrolled?

How many hours can I work per week during the summer if I am not enrolled?

When can I apply for a job?

Are there forms that I must complete before I start working?

Can I begin working if I have not submitted a hiring packet?

What is the last day I can work?

Am I paid an hourly wage or a salary?

How often will I be paid?

If I am unable to earn my entire award, will I be able to receive the rest of the money?

How many credits do I have to take for FWS eligibility?

Do I have to stop working if I withdraw from school?

Are FWS earnings taxable?

Why do I have to fill out an I-9 Form?

What are the benefits of the FWS program?

 

Loan Questions

I submitted my loan application online, how can I find out the status?

I submitted a loan application a week ago, why doesn't it show up on CUNYFirst?

Who is my lender?

Can I cancel my student loan if I change my mind, even if I've signed the promissory note agreeing to the loan's terms?

How do my parents apply for a PLUS Loan?

Are my parents responsible for my educational loans?

If I take a leave of absence, do I have to start repaying my loans?

When do I start paying back my student loans?


FAFSA Questions

Why is my financial aid award different than in the past?

The amount of TAP, PELL and other government grant aid that you are eligible for varies depending on your family's income and size of household. Each year, students must reapply for financial aid with information for the current year. If your family's financial circumstances change, the aid that you are eligible for will change as well. [Back to top]

 

Where can I go for more information?

There are several available resources to help you. For information on available scholarships, visit www.cuny.edu/scholarships, or the Financial Aid office at the CUNY college you plan to attend. To find out more information on federal student aid and for help in completing the FAFSA, visit www.studentaid.ed.gov. For general information about federal student financial assistance programs or help in completing the FAFSA, or to obtain federal student aid publications, call 1-800-433-3243.

Additional Resources Include:

  • www.studentloans.gov - for information on student loans
  • www.hesc.ny.gov - General information on your TAP grant [Back to top]

 

When is student aid considered income?

Generally, grants and scholarships that do not exceed tuition, fees, books, and required supplies are not considered income. Student aid is considered income when it's taxable student grant and scholarship aid such as fellowships and assistantships which are reported to the IRS in your parents or your adjusted gross income. [Back to top]

 

If I am in the National Guard or am an active duty military member, am I considered a veteran for purposes of filling out the FAFSA?

You are considered a veteran for the purpose of filling out the FAFSA if you have engaged in active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard) or are a National Guard or Reserve enlistee who was called to active duty for other than state or training purposes, or were a cadet or midshipman at one of the service academies and were released under a condition other than dishonorable.

If you are not on active duty in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard, but will be a veteran by June 30, 2010, you are considered a veteran for FAFSA purposes. [Back to top]

 

What if I'm a dependent student but my parents are divorced or separated?

You report the parent with whom you lived the most during the 12 months preceding the date you completed the FAFSA. It does not make a difference which parent claims you as a dependent for tax purposes. If you did not live with either parent or lived equally with each parent, the parental information must be provided for the parent from whom you received the most financial support during the preceding 12 months or the parent from whom you received the most support the last time support was given. If the parent you receive financial support from was a single parent who is now married, or the parent was divorced or widowed but has remarried, your stepparents financial information is required on the FAFSA. This does not mean your stepparent is obligated to give financial assistance to you, but his or her income and assets represent significant information about the family's resources. [Back to top]

 

I am entering financial information for my mother and stepfather on the FAFSA. Should I give my father's Social Security Number (SSN) and last name, or my stepfather's?

You should provide the SSN and last name of the same person or people for whom you are reporting financial information. In this case, provide the SSNs and names of your mother and stepfather. [Back to top]

 

What should you do if the parent with whom you live is remarried and the stepparent refuses to supply information?

If you are a dependent student and your parent is remarried, the stepparent's information must be included or you will not be considered for federal student financial aid. If you believe that your situation is unique or unusual other than the stepparent's simple refusal to provide the requested information, you should discuss the matter further with a member of the Office of Financial Aid staff. [Back to top]

 

How does a family decide who should be counted in the household size?

Anyone in the immediate family who receives more than 50% support from a dependent student's parents or an independent student and spouse may be counted in the household size. For example, a sibling who is over 24 but still receives the majority of his/her support from the parents can be included. Siblings who are dependent (as defined by the FAFSA) as of the date you apply for aid are also included, regardless of whether they receive more than 50% of their support from the parents. Any other person who resides in the household and receives more than 50% support from the parents may also be counted, as long as they will continue to reside with your parents and the support is expected to continue through June 30 2016. An unborn child who will be born during the award year may also be counted in the household size. Household size and tax exemptions are not necessarily the same. Exemptions look at the previous year or tax year and household size refers to the school year for which the student is applying for aid. [Back to top]

 

My parents separated four months ago. I live with my mother. My parents filed a joint tax return and claimed me as an exemption. Do I report both of their incomes, or just my mother's?

Report only your mother's income and asset information because you lived with her the most during the past 12 months. Use a W-2 Form or other record(s) to determine her share of the income reported and taxes paid on the tax return. [Back to top]

 

If I (the student) am separated but filed a joint tax return, how is the information reported?

You should give only your portion of the exemptions, income, and taxes paid. [Back to top]

 

Who qualifies to be counted in the number in college?

Any person (other than your parents) who is counted in the household and will be attending any term of the academic year at least half time. The person must be working toward a degree or certificate leading to a recognized education credential at a postsecondary school eligible to participate in the federal student aid programs. You (the student) need not be enrolled half time to be counted in the number in college. [Back to top]

 

When Does My School Have to Receive the Results From My Application?

Your school must have your information by your last day of enrollment. If your school has not received your application information electronically, you must submit your paper SAR to the school by the deadline. Either the electronic record (ISIR) or the paper SAR that has been processed by the Department must have an official EFC. Once the school receives your information, it will use your EFC to determine the amount of your federal grant, loan, or workstudy award, if you are eligible. The FAA will send you a letter explaining the aid the school is offering. [Back to top]

 

What if I don't get a SAR Acknowledgement or SAR, or I need another copy of that form?

If you do not receive your SAR Acknowledgement within two weeks or SAR within four weeks after submitting your application, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). You can use the automated system to find out whether your application has been processed or to request duplicate copies of your report. You will need to provide your Social Security Number and the first two letters of your last name. You can also check the status of your FAFSA and print a copy of your SAR at www.fafsa.gov. If you apply on FAFSA on the Web, you will get a confirmation notice after you click on Submit. [Back to top]

 

I sent in my FAFSA over a week ago but haven't got an email. What should I do?

Your FAFSA will be processed in two to four days. If you do get an email within a week you can check the status by going to www.fafsa.gov. You can also check by contacting the Federal student aid Information center at 1-800-4-FED-AID. [Back to top]

 

I sent in my FAFSA over a week ago but haven't got an email. What should I do?

Your FAFSA will be processed in two to four days. If you do get an email within a week you can check the status by going to www.fafsa.gov. You can also check by contacting the Federal student aid Information center at 1-800-4-FED-AID. [Back to top]

 

My parents don't support me and won't contribute to my education, so why am I still considered a "dependent" student?

It's a federal regulation. There are basic requirements a student must meet to be considered an independent student. If you do not meet these requirements but you still believe you are truly independent of your parents, you may appeal for a "dependency override" in the financial aid office at your school. In unusual cases, the financial aid administrator can change your dependency based on adequate documentation of special circumstances you may have. [Back to top]

 

What should I do if my family has special circumstances that aren't mentioned in the application?

Whenever you have problems or questions about your financial aid, you can come and speak to a counselor in the Office of Financial Aid, located in HN 241. Any change in your family's circumstances (i.e. loss of employment, loss of benefits, death or divorce) should be reported so that we can help you adjust the data elements used to calculate your EFC. The adjustment might increase your eligibility for student aid to help you through your Hunter education. [Back to top]

 

TAP Questions

For how many semesters can I receive TAP?

For an associate degree you may receive TAP for up to 6 semesters. You will be limited to 6 semesters of TAP even if you change majors or transfer to another community college. When you enroll in a 4 year college program at a senior college, you will become eligible for an additional 2 full-time semesters of TAP bringing your undergraduate total to 8 semesters. If you are enrolled in SEEK, you may receive up to 10 semesters (or the equivalent) of TAP as an undergraduate. [Back to top]

 

How do I make sure my classes are eligible for Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funding? How much TAP can I receive?

Not all students are eligible for TAP. To be eligible you must be a legal NY state resident and be enrolled in at least 12 credits, all of which must count toward the completion of your Hunter degree. The first place to go to determine whether you can use TAP funding toward your current course of study is your FACTS (Financial Aid Eligibility & Certification Tracking System) account. When you log in, click on "Current Eligibility" on the menu bar and select "Details". This will give you an explanation of how much TAP money you are eligible for, and if you are not, why not. [Back to top]

 

Can I get TAP for repeating a course?

If you repeat a course that you previously passed, you may not count the repeated course towards full-time enrollment for TAP purposes. This means that in order to receive TAP in a semester where you may be repeating a course you passed previously that you have, in addition to the repeated course, at least 12 credits or equated credits of non-repeated courses. If you repeat a course that you previously failed, you may include that course towards full-time enrollment for TAP purposes. [Back to top]

 

Can I get TAP for remedial courses?

Remedial courses may be counted towards either full-time or part time enrollment for TAP purposes. However, to qualify for TAP, you must always be registered for a certain number of degree credit courses. [Back to top]

 

Where I can I go for more information about my TAP award?

The HESC Customer Communication Center can be reached by telephone toll-free at 1-888-NYS-HESC (1-888-697-4372). You could also reach them on the web by going to www.hesc.org. [Back to top]

 

If I am planning on attending college out-of-state should I Bill out the TAP application?

Yes. You never know if your plans will change and having the TAP application on file will speed up the process if you decide to attend college in New York State. [Back to top]

 

I missed the link to the TAP on the Web site when I completed my FAFSA online. Can I get to it any other way?

Yes. You must wait until you receive either an email or a postcard with the web address of TAP on the Web. You can then set up a PIN number which will allow you to access the TAP on the Web site and you can complete your TAP application and have it submitted to HESC. [Back to top]

 

Work-Study Questions

Are work-study earnings taxable?

The money you earn from Federal Work-Study is generally subject to federal and state income tax, but exempt from FICA taxes (provided you are enrolled full time and work less than halftime). Federal Work-Study earnings during the calendar year should be included in the totals for AGI on the FAFSA. Work-study earnings should only be included when they represent financial aid to the student, since the answer to this question is used as an exclusion from taxed income. The student should also be careful to report amounts based on the calendar year, not the school year. [Back to top]

 

How will I be notified if I am awarded?

An award email will be sent to your Hunter email address. You can also check your award on your CUNYfirst Student Center page by scrolling down to ‘Finances’ and choosing the ‘View Financial Aid’ link. [Back to top]

 

Do I have to accept the award on CUNYfirst?

Yes, you must accept the award by going to your CUNYfirst Student Center page scrolling down to ‘Finances’ and choosing the ‘Accept/Decline Awards’ link. [Back to top]

 

If I was not awarded a work-study grant, can I still be considered for an award?

Yes, send an email from your Hunter email address to fwsjobs@hunter.cuny.edu indicating your interest in the work- study program. Awards are made on a first come first served basis, the remaining need in your CUNY financial aid budget and the availability of funding. Please include your EMPLID in the email and allow 3-4 weeks for a response. [Back to top]

 

How do I notify CUNY that I would like to begin working during the summer?

Complete the CUNY Supplement Form listed on your CUNYfirst ‘To Do List. [Back to top]

 

Can I begin working during the summer if I am not enrolled?

Yes, but only if you were enrolled the prior spring semester and are enrolled for the upcoming fall semester before you begin working in the summer. [Back to top]

 

How many hours can I work per week during the summer if I am not enrolled?

You can work twenty-five hours per week if you are not enrolled, and twenty hours per week if you are enrolled. [Back to top]

 

When can I apply for a job?

Emails containing information about applying for a job are sent to continuing students only for summer placement in June. Fall placement emails are sent to all students who have accepted the work-study award on CUNYfirst and are registered for at least six credits in August. Emails are only sent to Hunter College email addresses. [Back to top]

 

Are there forms that I must complete before I start working?

Yes, when students come in for placement they are given a hiring packet which includes forms that the supervisor must complete. [Back to top]

 

Can I begin working if I have not submitted a hiring packet?

No, you must submit the completed hiring packet to the Office of Financial Aid Room 241 North before you can begin working. [Back to top]

 

What is the last day I can work?

The last day of finals or if all the monies have been earned; whichever comes first. [Back to top]

 

Am I paid an hourly wage or a salary?

You are paid by the hour, your rate of pay is determined by the job location and the nature of the work involved. Currently the undergraduate pay rates for on-campus positions range from $9.00 – $11.00 per hour. The current pay rate for graduate students is $12.00 per hour. The current rate of pay for jobs off-campus is $9.00 per hour. [Back to top]

 

How often will I be paid?

Every two weeks, time sheets are completed on line. All time sheets must be approved by your supervisor. After your hiring package is submitted, you may have to wait up to 4 weeks for your first payment. Subsequently, you will receive a payment every two weeks. [Back to top]

 

If I am unable to earn my entire award, will I be able to receive the rest of the money?

No. You can be paid only for the hours you have worked. If you cannot earn your entire FWS award before the end of the academic year, the unearned portion of your award is returned to the program. [Back to top]

 

How many credits do I have to take for FWS eligibility?

You must register for and maintain an enrollment status of half-time (6 credits or equated credits) or greater to be eligible for FWS. If, for any reason, your course load falls below half-time, you can no longer participate in the program and must stop working. [Back to top]

Do I have to stop working if I withdraw from school?

Yes. If you withdraw from school for any reason, you lose your eligibility for FWS and must stop working. [Back to top]

 

Are FWS earnings taxable?

Yes. FWS earnings are considered taxable income by both federal and state governments. However, FWS earnings are not included in the calculation of your eligibility for financial aid. [Back to top]

 

Why do I have to fill out an I-9 Form?

According to federal law, the identity and work eligibility of all FWS students must be verified before beginning a FWS assignment. The I-9 form is one of the documents in your FWS hiring packet. You will have to complete an I-9 form and present certain documents to your FWS supervisor. You may not participate in the on-campus/off-campus FWS program until you have submitted a completed I-9 form to the Office of Financial Aid. [Back to top]

 

What are the benefits of the FWS program?

If you have never had a job, the FWS program can give you your first exposure to the world of work. FWS employers are often willing to give you on-the-job training. You can find positions relating directly to your program of study or career choice, thereby gaining valuable job experience. You may learn about giving something back to the community through a community service related FWS position. When seeking regular employment after graduation, you may use your FWS job as an employment reference. Finally, you could be taken on as a regular employee by the employer you worked for as a FWS student. [Back to top]

 

Loan Questions

I submitted my loan application online, how can I find out the status?

Currently, Hunter College can only accept paper-based loan applications. We hope to have the capability to accept online applications in the near future, but for now, applications that have been completed online cannot be processed by our office of Financial Aid. If you've done one online, you'll need to repeat the process with a paper application. [Back to top]

 

I submitted a loan application a week ago, why doesn't it show up on CUNYFirst?

It takes at least four weeks to process a loan application. If you check CUNYFirst before four weeks have passed, you won't see evidence of your application. Please allow enough time to pass before checking the status of your application. [Back to top]

 

Who is my lender?

Ultimately, your federal student loan lender is the federal government, but loan servicers are the companies that handle the billing and other services on your loan. Once your loan application is approved, the loan servicer that will handle your loan will contact you directly, usually by mail and/or email. While that money is transferred directly to Hunter College, it is important that you stay on top of communication with your servicer and know everything about the terms of your loans.You can find more information about your loan servicer at www.nslds.ed.gov. [Back to top]

 

Can I cancel my student loan if I change my mind, even if I've signed the promissory note agreeing to the loan's terms?

Yes. Your school must notify you in writing whenever it credits your account with your loan funds. You may cancel all or a portion of your loan if you inform your school within 14 days after the date your school sent you this notice, or by the first day of the payment period, whichever is later. (Your school can tell you the first day of your payment period.) [Back to top]

 

How do my parents apply for a PLUS Loan?

Your parents complete a Direct PLUS Loan application and promissory note that you'll get from your school's financial aid office. They will have to pass a credit check. If they don't pass they might still be able to receive a loan if they can demonstrate that extenuating circumstances exits, or if someone thy know, who can pass agrees to endorse the loan and promises to repay it if your parents don't. [Back to top]


Are my parents responsible for my educational loans?

No. Parents are, however, responsible for the Federal PLUS loans. Parents will only be responsible for your educational loans if you are under 18 and they co-sign your loan. In general you and you alone are responsible for repaying your educational loans. On the other hand, if your parents (or grandparents) want to help pay off your loan, you can have your billing statements sent to their address. Likewise, if your lender or loan servicer provides an electronic payment service, where the monthly payments are automatically deducted from a bank account, your parents can agree to have the payments deducted from their account. But your parents are under no obligation to repay your loans. If they forget to pay the bill on time or decide to cancel the electronic payment agreement, you will be held responsible for the payments, not them. [Back to top]

 

If I take a leave of absence, do I have to start repaying my loans?

Not immediately. The subsidized Stafford loan has a grace period of 6 months and the Perkins loan a grace period of 9 months before the student must begin repaying the loan. When you take a leave of absence you will not have to repay your loan until the grace period is used up. If you use up the grace period, however, when you graduate you will have to begin repaying your loan immediately. It is possible to request an extension to the grace period, but this must be done before the grace period is used up. If your grace period has run out in the middle of your leave of absence, you will have to start making payments on your student loans. [Back to top]

 

When do I start paying back my student loans?

If you're attending school at least half-time, you have a period of time after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time status before you must begin repayment. This period of time is called a "grace-period". Federal Perkins Loans- the grace period is nine months. If you're attending less than half-time, check with your financial aid office to determine your grace period.

Direct Stafford Loans- the grace period is six months.

Subsidized loan- during the grace period, you don't have to pay any principal and you won't be charged interest.

Unsubsidized loan- you don't have to pay any principal, but you will be charged interest. You can either pay interest as you go along or it will be capitalized later. [Back to top]

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