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Financial Aid 101

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Financial Aid 101

How do new or prospective students apply?

All students who wish to apply for federal and state-funded financial assistance must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

File Your FAFSA On the Web
Most students and families use FAFSA on the Web to apply for federal student aid. FAFSA on the Web guides you through the questions you need to answer and stops you if you miss a required item or enter an invalid answer. This helps insure that your application is completed properly. Filing electronically also helps you get your application results more quickly.

Get and Use Your Federal PIN
You (and one of your parents, if required) should get a Federal Personal Identification Number. Your PIN is your electronic signature for your FAFSA. You will be able to view your PIN instantly online or have it sent to you immediately by email. Be sure to keep your PIN safe and not share it with anyone. Save it, because you will need to use it every year.

Provide a Valid E-mail Address
If you provide a valid e-mail address when you file your application, you will receive an e-mail with a URL to access your application results. If you and your parents used a PIN to sign your FAFSA and there are no other problems with your application information, you may receive this e-mail notification in as little as 24-72 hours. Be sure to look at your application results when you receive this notification and download a copy of the results (called a Student Aid Report, or SAR) for your records.

Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
You and your parents may be able to have your income information imported automatically from IRS records into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This option will make it easier for you and your family to fill out the income sections of the FAFSA. 

If you or your parents are eligible to use this option, you will go through a quick authorization process and the required income information will be transferred immediately from IRS records directly to your FAFSA. You and your parents must have already submitted your prior year tax returns at least 2 weeks before attempting to use the IRS Data Retrieval option or the IRS information won't be available to transfer to your FAFSA. 

You can watch this helpful IRS Data Retrieval Tutorial created by the University of California at Santa Barbara to learn what you have to do to successfully use the tool.

If you don't use this option when you complete your FAFSA, your application will likely be selected for review by the Department of Education for verification and your financial aid awards delayed until you complete the review process.

If You Don't Use a PIN
If you or one of your parents does not sign your FAFSA on the Web using a PIN, you must print and mail a signature page to the federal processor to confirm the validity of the information provided on your application.

We recommend that you and a parent use PINs to sign your FAFSA on the Web instead of printing and mailing a signature page. Having to mail a signature page can significantly lengthen application processing time by several weeks.

What Do I Do Next?
When you have finished entering your application data and have submitted your FAFSA, you will arrive at a Confirmation Page that will give you a confirmation # and and an estimate of your federal aid eligibility. You should print a copy of this page for your records along with a copy of your application information. You will also receive your Confirmation Page by email after you submit your FAFSA.

File Your New York State TAP On the Web Application
Look for "Optional Feature -- Start your state application" on the Confirmation Page to go to "TAP on the Web". Here you will be able to apply for New York State tuition assistance programs for full-time and part-time students.

[Note: if you are not a New York State resident, this option will not be available to you.]

Your federal PIN serves as your signature for the electronic TAP application. If you (or your parent) did not use a PIN to sign your online FAFSA, your FAFSA signature page satisfies the TAP signature requirement.

If you do not complete the TAP on the Web application when you file your FAFSA on the Web, you will be sent an email with a link to an electronic TAP on the Web application after your FAFSA is processed.

Can I File Using Paper Applications?
Though it's not recommended, you may, if you prefer, apply for federal financial aid by completing and mailing a paper FAFSA. Download a current year paper FAFSA here. Processing of a mailed paper FAFSA can take from 4-6 weeks.

If you use a paper FAFSA to apply for federal student aid, make sure that BMCC [Federal School Code 002691] is listed among your college choices in the "Releases and Signatures" portion of the application.

After your paper FAFSA is processed, you will be sent an email  with a link to a TAP on the Web application. Check to see that BMCC [TAP School Code 1404] is listed as your college of choice.

Can I get help filling out my application?

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The City University of New York

Borough of Manhattan Community College
The City University of New York
199 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007
212-220-8000 | Directory

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