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Financial Aid 101

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Financial Aid 101

What do I have to do after I file my applications?

You will receive a response for each financial aid application you file, usually by e-mail. Based on the instructions contained in the responses, you may have to take additional steps before you receive any financial aid awards. Following up on your applications is an important part of your responsibilities as a financial aid applicant.

Read the following information carefully to learn the types of responses you will receive and what additional steps you may have to take.

Look for your Student Aid Report
If you provided an email address on your FAFSA, you will receive an electronic response called a Student Aid Report (or SAR) in 3-5 days after you submit your FAFSA.

If you did not provide a valid e-mail address on your electronic or paper FAFSA, or did not use a PIN to sign, you will receive a paper SAR from the Federal Processor in 3 to 4 weeks.

If there are errors or your information is incomplete, your SAR will indicate what you must do to resolve the error.

Print and retain a copy of your SAR
Although you are not required to submit your SAR to the Financial Aid Office, you should always have a printed SAR in your records. Download your SAR from FAFSA on the Web after you receive notification that your application is processed.

Look for your TAP Award Notice
You will receive a TAP award notification by email or regular mail 4-6 weeks after filing TAP on the Web. The Higher Education Services Corporation will contact you if they require additional information to process your TAP application.

Check your application status
Use your Federal PIN at any time to check the status of your FAFSA or print a Student Aid Report at FAFSA on the Web. After filing the TAP application, use your HESC user name and PIN to check your TAP application or award status at TAP on the Web. You can also learn about your application and award status by logging into your Student Center on CUNYfirst.

Respond promptly to requests for information
Your SAR reports everything you wrote on your original application along with additional instructions about what you must do to get federal student aid. If you included BMCC as one of your college choices, the college will receive this information electronically about the same time your SAR is e-mailed (or mailed) to you. The college's Financial Aid Office will review your SAR information, and if additional information is required, will send you an e-mail notice with instructions on what you must do next. Make sure you respond promptly to any e-mail requests for additional information.

Pay attention to your "To Do" list
Your "To Do" list can be viewed on your Student Center in CUNYfirst. The Financial Aid Office will post to your "To Do" list any request for additional information needed to process your financial aid application. An unresolved "To Do" list item will delay or prevent you from receiving your financial aid awards.

My SAR indicates that my application has been selected for "Verification". What is that?
The federal government uses a process called verification to help determine the correctness of the financial information on your FAFSA. When applications are selected for verification, the Financial Aid Office must collect certain documents from you and your family and match them against the information you provided on your FAFSA. Being selected for verification does not mean you have done anything worng -- the U.S. Department of Education chooses applications to verify at random.

If your application is selected for verification, you will see a verification "To Do" list item on your Student Center page in CUNYfirst. The Financial Aid Office may also send you an e-mail asking you to submit certain items needed to complete verification. After you submit your information, it will be reviewed by financial aid personnel and, if necessary, electronic corrections to your application will be made. Reprocessing, if required, takes about 10-14 business days.

Once you have submitted information to the Financial Aid Office, make no further changes to your application record on your own unless you speak with a financial aid representative first.

Pay attention to processing deadlines
To receive a federal aid payment for any term, your FAFSA must be processed while you are still in attendance in any semester, or by June 30 of the award year, whichever comes earlier. Your application record must have an official EFC by your last day of enrollment and the Office of Financial Aid must certify that your application information is valid and correct by that date. Any student loan must have been processed by the U.S. Dept. of Education. If your application record was selected for verification, the deadline for submitting the required verification documents is extended for 120 days after your last day of enrollment, or by September 2nd of the award year, whichever comes earlier.

When do I receive the money?

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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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