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Financial Aid 101

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Financial Aid 101

How is my eligibility determined?

Financial need is the basis for determining your eligibility for financial aid. Financial need can be defined as the difference between what the college indicates it costs for you to go to school, called the cost of attendance, and what you and your family can be reasonably expected to contribute to help you pay these expenses, called the expected family contribution (EFC). The lower your EFC and the higher your cost of attendance, the greater will be your need for financial aid.

CUNY assigns every student a cost of attendance budget which includes expenses directly related to college attendance (tuition, fees, books, supplies and transportation) along with indirect costs (rent, food and personal expenses). You should remember that the only part of the cost of attendance that you pay directly to the college is tuition and fees. The other costs are those that you manage from a combination of financial aid and your own financial resources.  Check our College Expenses page for specific information on cost of attendance budgets for the current school year.

When your FAFSA is processed, your information is analyzed using a formula that calculates an Expected Family Contribution (or EFC). The EFC is a number that represents an amount that you and your family are expected to contribute towards your education. The EFC formula tskrd into account your family income, tax-filing status, the number of people in your family, the number of family members in college and 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.The Financial Aid Office factors your yearly cost of attendance against your EFC and uses the difference to determine the maximum amount of financial aid you may receive.

Another factor used in calculating an EFC is your dependency status. Certain questions on your financial aid application(s) will 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.

To get a quick estimate of your EFC without actually filing a FAFSA, you may use this quick and easy EFC Calculator:

Although the primary responsibility of paying for school rests with you and your family, the College tries to assist you in meeting your cost of education to the fullest extent possible. Most students will discover that there is at least one aid program they can benefit from. We encourage you to apply for financial aid each year, even if you think that you might not be eligible.

How much aid can I receive?

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The City University of New York

Borough of Manhattan Community College
The City University of New York
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