• Frequently Asked Financial Aid Questions

    1. What is student financial aid?  

    Financial aid covers educational expenses, including tuition and fees, books and supplies, and transportation. The various categories of student financial aid are grants, work-study, loans and scholarships.


  •  2. I probably don’t qualify for aid, should I apply for aid anyway?


    Yes. Many families prevent themselves from receiving financial aid because they don’t think they are qualified for it and fail to apply. The FAFSA form is free and there are additional sources of aid, such as unsubsidized loans, that are available based on your family contribution. You may qualify for College and private scholarships as well.



     3. How much aid can I expect to get?


    Aid from most programs is awarded based on financial need and cannot exceed the cost of attendance. An Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number is used to determine need. The EFC is a measure of your family’s financial strength and is calculated from the information you report on the FAFSA. To be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, your EFC must be below a certain number, which can vary from year to year. For the 2010-2011 award year, eligibility for a Pell Grant required an EFC of less than 5274. If you want to see exactly how the EFC formula works, go to www.Studentaid.ed.gov/pubs, and click on the year under “The EFC formula.”



     4. Do I need to be admitted to LaGuardia before I can apply for financial aid?


    No. You can apply for financial aid any time after January 1. It is advisable to fill out a FAFSA application as soon as you have decided to go to college. You can list up to ten colleges on the FAFSA application and all the colleges listed will receive your information. You should start the process no later than six weeks prior to the start of the semester for which you plan to enroll, and you must be admitted and enrolled in the College to receive the funds.



     5. How soon after January 1 must I submit my FAFSA? Isn’t it better to wait until my Income Tax forms have been completed?


    Submit your FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1. You can use estimates of your income, so long as they are not very different from the actual amounts. If you wait too long, you might miss the deadline for scholarships and/or campus based work-study aid. Immediately after you and/or your parents have completed your tax returns, you must adjust your FAFSA to reflect your or your parents’ actual income.



     6. Do I need to reapply for financial aid every year?


    Yes. You must apply for financial aid every year. If your financial circumstances change, you may get more or less aid. Renewal of your financial aid package also depends on making satisfactory academic progress towards a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits and achieving a minimum GPA. Check our website to see the required number of earned/attempted credits and GPA needed to remain eligible for Title IV and TAP benefits.



     7. How do I apply for financial aid?


    You can complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) electronically at www.fafsa.gov from any computer, or you can visit the Student Financial Services Resource Center in room C-109, where our staff will assist you. The FAFSA is the application form required for all federal aid. Be assured that your answers will be kept confidential. You can also call 1 (800) 433-3242 for help with filing your FAFSA and to obtain a paper application. The Title IV school code for LaGuardia is 010051.

    The current FAFSA application (2011/2012) is good for fall 2011 and spring 2011. The new FAFSA application for fall 2012 and spring 2013 is available January 2012.

    You will be able to link to your online Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) application at the end of the FAFSA session, or you can go directly to https://www.tapweb.org/totw/ The TAP school code for LaGuardia is 1403.

    First, you will be asked to establish a PIN (Personal Identification Number) for TAP. You will need this to apply, keep track of your application information, or make changes as needed. After establishing your PIN, you will be able to complete your TAP application online. Information from your FAFSA and your family’s calculated NYS net taxable income will be pre-filled on your TAP-on-the-Web application.


    • What is a PIN number?  


    A PIN is an electronic access code number that serves as an identifier. You will be required to create a PIN for your federal aid and a separate PIN for your State aid. Your PIN numbers allow you to access your personal federal and state aid information online in various U.S. Department of Education systems. You should request your Federal PIN and your parents should request their own PIN before you complete the FAFSA. If you do not have a Federal PIN you may request one at www.pin.ed.gov.



     8. What information do I need to complete a FAFSA accurately?


    For the academic year 2011/12 you should have the following when filing,


    • 2010 Federal Income Tax Returns;
    • 2010 W-2 Forms;
    • 2010 Bank Statements;
    • 2010 Records of other investments;
    • Social Security Card;
    • Alien Registration Card;
    • Driver’s License;


    Note: Documents should show your, your spouse’s or your parents’ financial information (if you are a dependent).
    * Dependent students should also know their parent(s)’ name, social security number, date of birth, date of marriage, separation and / or divorce, and, if a parent is disabled, the month and year of the disability.



     9. How do I know that I should be filing as an independent student?


    You are an independent student if you are:

    a. 24 years old or older at the time of filing, and/or
    b. A veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces and/or
    c. Married and/or
    d. Have a dependent for whom you provide more than half of the support.




     10. What types of financial aid can I apply for?


    You can apply for federal grants and loans through the FAFSA.

    Federal Grants:
    a. Federal Pell Grant
    b. FSEOG Grant
    c. Federal Work-Study

    Federal Loans:

    a. Federal Direct Loan
    b. Federal Perkins Loan




     11. What is a Federal Pell Grant?


    This is an award that comes from the Federal Government for undergraduates which does not have to be repaid.



     12. What is Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)?


    FSEOGs are awarded to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need (those with the lowest Expected Family Contribution (EFC) numbers). Federal Pell Grant recipients receive priority for FSEOG awards.



     13. What is Federal Work-Study (FWS)?


    Federal Work-Study is a program that allows you to gain valuable work experience and receive financial assistance toward your education. To apply for FWS you must complete the FAFSA application. If eligible, you will receive an award letter in the mail along with further instructions about the FWS workshop you will be required to attend in order to confirm your work assignment.



     14. How do I apply for a student loan?


    You must complete a FAFSA application and take the borrower’s entrance counseling quiz at www.studentloans.gov.  Once completed, print out the results of the quiz and go to the Office of Student Financial Services website at www.lagcc.cuny.edu and download the Federal Direct Loan application. Bring both the completed loan application and test results to the Office of Student Financial Services in C-107. You must wait for the Office of Student Financial Services’ approval to e-sign your Master Promissory Note (MPN). You must have a PIN number to sign the MPN. Once you e-signed your MPN, you will receive a Disclosure Notice from the Department of Education approximately 10 days before the scheduled disbursement date. The Disclosure Notice will indicate the approved gross loan amount(s), fees, net loan amounts, and anticipated disbursement dates. All loans are disbursed in at least two disbursements. You can also go to http://web.laguardia.edu/sfs/payments.aspx to see the approximate dates of disbursement of your loan and other financial aid checks.




     15. Must I fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid/FAFSA to receive a student loan?





     16. What is TAP?


    New York State's Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) provides grants to students to assist them in paying tuition. Families with New York State Net Taxable Income of $80,000 or less qualify to receive TAP grants. TAP awards range from $225 to $5,000. New York State offers the following financial aid programs:


    • Tuition Assistance program (TAP)
    • Part-Time TAP (PTAP)
    • Child of Veteran Award
    • Child of Deceased Police Officer/Firefighter Award
    • Nursing Scholarships
    • Persian Gulf Veterans Tuition Award
    • Vietnam Veterans Tuition Award



     17. What is College Discovery (CD)?


    This program provides eligible students with concentrated and specialized counseling, remedial instruction, tutoring services and financial aid stipends for educational expenses. In accordance with State Education law and CUNY policies, students are eligible for admission to the program if they are:

    • Economically disadvantaged.  
    • Educationally disadvantaged.
    • Graduated from an approved high school or attained a New York State high school equivalency diploma (GED) or the equivalent.
    • Did not previously attend a college or university.
    • Have resided in New York City for at least one year prior to the first day of classes.


    You will be certified for the College Discovery Program after the College has reviewed the information on your FAFSA and TAP applications.




     18. How do I find out the status of my financial aid application?


    You can check on the status of your FAFSA application via the web at www.fafsa.ed.gov. You must have a federal PIN number to access your information. To obtain a PIN number, go to www.pin.ed.gov. To check on the status of your TAP application, visit www.hesc.org. You must have a state User ID and a PIN number to access your information. You may also check the status of your financial aid through the CUNY Portal at www.cuny.edu. KEEP YOUR PIN NUMBERS IN A SECURE PLACE!



     19. What is the CUNY Portal?


    The CUNY Portal is a gateway to all things CUNY: college websites, information about applying to CUNY, registering for classes, financial aid status, events, campus directories, etc. The CUNY Portal makes it easier and faster to find what you need. You must register on the CUNY Portal website to gain access to your information.



     20. How do I register/login on the CUNY Portal?


    Click on the “Log-in” link at the bottom of the left column of CUNY's Portal page. If you have previously registered on the CUNY Portal, type in your username and password and click on the “Log-in” button. If you have never registered on the CUNY Portal, select the “Register Now” link. A new page will display four categories for registration: student, faculty, staff and alumni or visitor. Select the appropriate link. Students, faculty and staff must enter their last name, social security number and birth date in order to validate their connection with the University. If you have previously registered on the CUNY Portal as a visitor, you must now register as a student to view your financial aid awards.




     21. How can I pay my tuition while I wait for my TAP and/or Pell awards to be actualized?


    Until your financial aid awards are finalized, your tuition charges can be paid with cash, check, money order, credit card or a payment plan. All payments are made at the Bursar’s Office (C110).




     22. What is AMS?


    Academic Management Services (AMS) is a payment plan that allows you to make monthly payments toward your tuition bill. Applications are available at the Bursar’s and in the Enrollment Services Center (C-107), online at www.tuitionpay.com, or by calling 1 (800) 635-0120. If you set up a payment plan, the bursar will not cancel your current semester classes, but you must be sure to pay your monthly installments to prevent a STOP from being placed on your record, which will prevent you from registering for next semester’s classes. When your financial aid is actualized, AMS will contact you to let you know that you do not need to pay further installments.



     23. Where is the Office of Student Financial Services located and what are the hours?


    Student Financial Service (SFS) is located in the Enrollment Services Center in room C-107. The SFS website is www.lagcc.cuny.edu/sfs. The phone number is (718) 482-7218 or 5242 and the office hours are:

    Monday: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
    Tuesday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    Thursday: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
    Friday: Closed



     24. What is the Student Financial Services Resource Center?


    This center allows students to file for financial aid online and check the status of their applications. Other services available at this center are: pre-loan counseling; researching and applying for college scholarships; accessing your financial aid history; applying for the CUNY Scholar Prepaid $upport card; Selective Service and Veteran’s Administration information. The Resource Center is located in C-109 and the hours are:

    Monday: 9:00 a.m. – *6:30 p.m.
    Tuesday: 9:00 a.m. – *6:30 p.m.
    Wednesday: 9:00 p.m. – *6:30 p.m.
    Thursday: 9:00 a.m. – *6:30 p.m.
    Friday: Closed

    * Note that the lab will accept the last student at 6:00 p.m. in order to allow enough time for completing an application or making corrections.



     25. What other sources of financial aid should I check out?


    • LaGuardia Foundation Scholarships  
    • National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarship for high achieving Computer Science, Engineering & Mathematics majors only
    • Faculty Council Scholarships

    You must currently be enrolled at LaGuardia Community College and have achieved a high degree of academic excellence in order to qualify for scholarships. To apply, visit www.laguardia.edu/Financial-Aid/Scholarships/.
    External scholarship information is also available at the Career & Transfer Center in room C-261 and at the Student Financial Services Resource Center in room C-109.


    Also check out these avenues:  


    • If you or your parents are employed ask your company or labor union if it has a tuition reimbursement program.
    • Check to see if the church or community organization you or your parents belong to has an educational grant or scholarship program.
    • If you are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or the child of a veteran, you may be eligible for veterans' educational benefits. To learn about your eligibility for these benefits check the Veterans Administration G.I. bill website or Vocational and Educational Services for individuals with Disabilities (VESID). Or speak to CUNY’s VESID representative in MB-10 or by calling (718) 4482-5238. VESID is a NYS government office that provides a variety of educationally related services and some financial assistance for eligible students.
    • If you are a recipient of public assistance, you may qualify for Training Related Expense (TRE) payments through the Office of Employment Services (OES) of the Human Resources Administration.
    • You may be eligible for a Hope or Lifetime Learning education credit, both of which you claim when you file your taxes.
    • The New York State Department of Education, in conjunction with the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC), makes a number of academic merit and service awards each year. For more information about NYS sponsored academic award programs, visit HESC's Grants, Scholarships and Special Awards page.
    • The World Trade Center Memorial Scholarship was established for the victims and families of victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Visit the WTC Memorial Scholarship Information page to learn more about this and other scholarship resources available to victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
    • If you wish to conduct your own scholarship search, you may want to try the following free scholarship searches:




    Note: The use of any scholarship search that charges a fee is not recommended.



     26. What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?
    Please view our Satisfactory Academic Progress brochure 2013- 2014.
     27. How do I view my tuition bill and Financial Aid in CUNYFirst?
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