Learn About Financial Aid

Frequently Asked Questions

Tuition and fees make up the largest part of your school costs, but these are not the only expenses you will have while going to school. You will have to pay for books and supplies for your classes and transportation to and from school. Don’t forget that your housing, food, and personal expenses are all part of the costs of attending college.

The BMCC College Expenses page estimates what it costs students to attend BMCC for a 9-month school year.

You can find the current school charges posted on the Tuition and Fees page of this site.

BMCC students receive financial aid from federal, state and city programs and may receive scholarships from private sources.

The kinds of financial aid BMCC students receive are:

  • Grants – money that does not have to be repaid.
  • Loans – money that you borrow and agree to pay back with interest.
  • Work-Study – money that you earn from a job you get through the Financial Aid Office.
  • Scholarships – money for getting good grades in your classes.

Each type of financial aid has different requirements for you to qualify. Most BMCC students will be able to get some type of financial aid regardless of family income. All you need to do is apply for it.

Apply for financial aid as soon as you have chosen to attend BMCC. Don’t wait until you have received your admission letter to apply for aid.  The federal application lets you list all the schools you are thinking about attending so that each school can make award estimates.

The Financial Aid Office has set up deadlines so that you know what aid will be available when you have to buy books and pay your tuition.

For more information, go to our Application and Award Deadlines page.

Financial aid is meant to be in place before you start your classes.  Once  a semester is over and you are no longer enrolled in classes, it is usually too late for you to apply for and receive funding. In most cases, as long as you are still actively enrolled for a semester, you can still apply for financial aid, but some types of aid may not be available because of limited funding.  If you are a late filer, it may not be possible for you to receive funds to purchase books and supplies at the beginning of the semester. Your aid can usually be processed if you file late, as long as the semester is not over, but you will receive your funds only after processing is completed.

It can take 6-8 weeks to process your applications. Remember to put BMCC as one of your college choices on your application. The college needs to know you applied for aid in order to make financial aid awards.  You must apply early to be paid early.

Start by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is an online application that guides you through the questions you need to answer and will stop you if you make a mistake.

Get and Use Your FSA ID
You must get an FSA ID to sign your FAFSA online. You will get your FSA ID when you go to the FAFSA website to complete your application. If you are required to report parent information on your FAFSA, one of your parents must get an FSA ID too. Be sure not to share your FSA ID with anyone. Save it, because you will need to use it every year. Learn how to get your FSA ID here.

 Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
You should always try to use the IRS Data Retrieval option at FAFSA-on-the-Web to have your income tax information imported from IRS records to your application automatically. The FAFSA now uses your family tax information already on file from 2 years before so most students and parents should be able to use this option.

Using IRS Data Retrieval should make it easier for you and your family to complete the income sections of the FAFSA. You won’t have to try and find the correct numbers on your tax papers.

If you do not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when you file your FAFSA, you may have to submit IRS Tax Return Transcripts for you or your parents before your awards can be finalized.

Provide Your E-.mail Address
Make sure to include an e-mail address when you file your application. Your application results will be sent by email in 1 to 3 days. Be sure to look at your application results when you receive the email. Download a copy of the results (called a Student Aid Report, or SAR) for your records.

What Do I Do Next?
When you have submitted your completed FAFSA, you will see a Confirmation Page. This page will give you a confirmation # and an estimate of your federal aid eligibility. Print a copy of this page for your records. You will also receive your Confirmation Page by email after you submit your FAFSA.

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

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

If you do not complete the TAP application when you file your FAFSA, you will be sent an e-mail with a link to complete it after your FAFSA is processed or you may apply for TAP here.

All financial aid application expire at the end of May each year. If you plan to continue attending after the spring semester, you must reapply for financial aid.

Priority Filing Period
The FAFSA for the new award year becomes available October 1 of each year. We have established January 1 – May 1 as a priority application filing period for students returning in the fall. If you file your FAFSA within this time frame, you have the best chance of receiving all the financial aid for which you are eligible.

File a FAFSA Every Year
Although you can file the FAFSA for the new award year as early as October, remember to refile your FAFSA as early as possible — certainly no later than the end of the spring term. A new FAFSA needs to be on file to renew your federal financial assistance for the following summer, fall and spring terms.

File Your FAFSA On the Web
File your FAFSA on the Web for the upcoming school year as early as possible after February 1st even if you are unsure about your school plans for the fall.

Use Your FSA ID
You will need an FSA ID to access your FAFSA data online and update it for the new academic year.  The FSA ID replaces the ED PIN as the way to access U.S. Department of Education websites and electronically sign your FAFSA.

Create or edit your FSA ID here.

Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
You should always try to use the IRS Data Retrieval option at FAFSA-on-the-Web to have your income tax information imported from IRS records to your application automatically. The FAFSA now uses your family tax information already on file from 2 years before so most students and parents should be able to use this option.

Using IRS Data Retrieval should make it easier for you and your family to complete the income sections of the FAFSA. You won’t have to try and find the correct numbers on your tax papers.

If you do not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when you file your FAFSA, you may have to submit IRS Tax Return Transcripts for you or your parents before your awards can be finalized.

Provide a Valid Email 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 in as little as 1 to 3 days.  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.

How Do I Reapply for TAP?
Reapply for TAP on the Web as part of the FAFSA on the Web process. When you have submitted your FAFSA, you will be taken to the FAFSA Confirmation Page. 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 reapply for New York State tuition assistance programs for full-time and part-time students.

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 that application after your FAFSA is processed.

Yes! If you have questions about your application and want more help, you can speak to financial aid staff by phone or in-person. We are eager to help. You can also send your questions to us by e-mail and we will respond as quickly as we can.

If you need access to a computer, visit our F.A.S.T. Web Services Center.

The answers to many of the most commonly asked questions about the FAFSA can be found on the Filling Out the FAFSA page.

Students and families must show financial need to receive most kinds of financial aid. Financial need is the difference between what it costs for you to go to school, called the cost of attendance, and the part of these expenses you and your family will be reasonably expected to pay, called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Cost of attendance budgets are standard amounts set up by CUNY and assigned to all students who apply for financial aid. Student budgets include direct school costs like tuition, fees, books, supplies and transportation. They also include indirect costs like rent, food and personal expenses.

The only part of the cost of attendance that you pay directly to the college is tuition and fees. The other costs are covered from a combination of financial aid and your family’s financial resources. Check our College Expenses page for the cost of attendance budgets for the current school year.

When your FAFSA is processed, you will see an Expected Family Contribution (or EFC) number on your application results.  The EFC is based on the information about you and your family provided on your application. The formula that is used for the EFC takes into account that only some of your family income and resources will be available to pay for school.  Students with lower EFCs will have greater financial need than those with higher EFCs.

Your applications will ask certain questions to determine whether you are a dependent student who must report your parents’ income along with your own, or an independent student who will only have to report your own (and your spouse’s) income and resources.

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

The primary responsibility of paying for school rests with you and your family, but BMCC will try to help you meet your cost of education. We encourage you to apply for financial aid each year, even if you think that you might not be eligible. Most students discover that there is at least one aid program they can benefit from.

Once you have completed your financial aid applications and submitted the required information or documents to the Financial Aid Office, you will receive a financial aid awards package

A financial aid package usually covers an entire academic year and consists of grants and some type of self-help aid in the form of loans or work-study. How much you are awarded depends on your financial need and what program funds are available. Your total aid package (including all grant, loan and scholarship aid) cannot be more than your cost of attendance.

CUNY takes the following steps to award financial aid:

  • first, your eligibility for TAP and PELL grants is determined;
  • then, your remaining financial need is determined by subtracting the EFC and any TAP and Pell from your cost of attendance;
  • finally, you are considered for campus-based aid such as FSEOG, and Federal Work-Study.

If you still need additional funds, you may request a Federal Direct Loan from our Loan Request page. CUNY does not automatically include Federal Direct Loans as part of your aid package even though you may be eligible.

Some students may receive a scholarship from a public or private source. These will be added to your total financial aid awards package when you receive them. Learn about scholarship opportunities for BMCC students on our Scholarships page.

City University’s Net Price Calculator is a tool to help you plan for your college education. You can learn about the kinds of financial aid you might expect if you choose to attend BMCC. The Net Price Calculator is not a financial aid application and the amounts listed do not guarantee that these awards will be offered. You can only know how much aid you will receive by applying for it.

You will receive a response for each financial aid application you file, usually by e-mail. Based on the instructions in the response, you may have to take additional steps before you receive any financial aid awards. Some students lose out by not following up on their application status with the Financial Aid Office.

Look for your Student Aid Report
You will receive a Student Aid Report (or SAR) by e-mail within 1-3 days after you submit your FAFSA. Your SAR will have messages telling you what you must do to finalize your status.

Print a copy of your SAR
The Financial Aid Office doesn’t need a copy of your SAR, but you should always have a printed SAR for your records. Download your SAR from FAFSA on the Web after you receive the email that says your FAFSA was processed.

Look for your TAP Award Notice
You will receive a TAP award notification by email 4-6 weeks after filing TAP on the Web. New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) will contact you by email if they require additional information to process your TAP application.

Check your application status
Use your FSA ID at any time to check the status of your FAFSA or print a SAR at FAFSA on the Web.  Use your HESC username and PIN to check your TAP application or award status at TAP on the Web. You can also check 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 FAFSA with instructions about what you must do to get federal student aid. If you included BMCC as one of your college choices, the college receives your application information about the same time you receive your SAR. The Financial Aid Office will send you a missing information e-mail if more information is required. Make sure you respond promptly to any e-mail requests for information.

Pay attention to your “To Do List”
Your “To Do List” can be viewed on your Student Center in CUNYfirst. Your “To Do List” will show what you need to submit to the Financial Aid Office. An unresolved “To Do List” item will stop you from receiving your financial aid awards.

My SAR indicates that my application was selected for “Verification”. What is that?
The federal government uses verification to make sure your FAFSA is correct. When an application is selected for verification, you must submit certain documents to the Financial Aid Office. Your documents will be matched against the information on your FAFSA. Being selected for verification does not mean you have done anything wrong — the U.S. Department of Education chooses applications to verify at random.

If your application must be verified, a “To Do List” item will be posted to your Student Center page in CUNYfirst. You will also receive an e-mail from the college telling you what to bring in to the Financial Aid Office. After you submit your information, your application will be reviewed and, if necessary, corrected. 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 unless you speak with a financial aid counselor first.

Pay attention to processing deadlines
To receive a federal aid payment for any term, your FAFSA must be processed while you are still enrolled for the semester you want the aid for. You must have an official EFC by your last day of enrollment and the Office of Financial Aid must make sure your information is valid and correct by that date. A student loan request must have been processed by the U.S. Dept. of Education before the semester is over. Under certain circumstances, such as students selected for verification, we may be able to process a Federal Pell Grant even if the semester is over.

The Financial Aid Office must receive your application while you are still enrolled. We must determine that your information is correct and complete with all required documents before you receive any federal financial aid. Your “To Do List” on your CUNYfirst Student Center page will tell you about any remaining requirements.

When the college receives your application information, you will receive an e-mail award letter with the types and amounts of the awards in your financial aid package. You will also be able to view your awards on your Student Center page in CUNYfirst. The awards that appear on this letter are estimated awards and will become official only after all requirements have been met and your semester enrollment becomes final. If there are any changes made to your initial awards package, you will receive a revised award letter that will detail the changes.

If you have requested a Federal Direct Loan, you will be sent a Disclosure Notice with anticipated disbursement dates. After your request is processed, your approved loan amount is added to your awards package on CUNYfirst.

Your TAP, PELL and loan funds are not paid to you directly but to your CUNYfirst student account and will be used to cover any unpaid semester charges. TAP funds are used only for tuition and are not refunded to you. Other amounts from Pell Grant, loans or scholarships not needed to cover your school charges will be refunded to you.

View your scheduled disbursement dates on your CUNYfirst account by logging into your Student Center, clicking on “View Financial Aid” and then selecting “View Scheduled Disbursements”. The disbursement dates listed represent the earliest possible date that the aid will be released. The actual date may be different, but most students receive their aid payments within the first month of classes each semester.

Student financial aid is awarded with the expectation that you will remain enrolled for the entire period for which your financial aid was intended. To receive all the aid to which you are entitled, you must actually begin to actively participate in each your classes. The college uses verification of enrollment information reported by your instructors to determine whether or not you have actually begun your classes.

If you register for classes but do not attend, your financial aid will be cancelled. If you receive a payment of financial aid funds for classes you never began, you must return that payment immediately to the college.

Before releasing any grant or loan funds to your account or making any refunds to you, we will verify your enrollment status with the college Registrar. Your enrollment status will be measured at the end of the 7th day of the semester to determine your eligibility for PELL and other financial aid grants. For student loans, your enrollment status will be rechecked at the point the loan payment is made regardless of when in the semester you are receiving it.

  • During the school year, you and your family may experience a financial change. Perhaps there is information about your family situation that was not asked about on your financial aid application. You may think that questions about your parents shouldn’t apply to you. You may have questions about your award amounts. If your financial situation has changed since you filed your FAFSA, or if you believe that you have an unusual circumstance, you may ask a financial aid counselor to review your situation. We may be able to make adjustments that more closely reflect your circumstances. It is your responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office of any special or unusual circumstances or changes in your financial status that may affect your ability to pay for college. We encourage you to visit the financial aid office to speak with a financial aid counselor if you have any questions about your financial aid awards.
  • If you are asked to provide parent data on your application but cannot because an extreme circumstance has caused a break-up in your family, you may complete a Dependency Status Appeal Form. Please note that your status cannot be changed because your parents refuse to contribute to your education, are unwilling to complete the FAFSA, do not claim you on their taxes, or you are living financially on your own. This form is available on our Forms page.
  • If you or your family has had a loss of income in the time since your financial aid applications were filed, you may complete either an Income Adjustment Appeal for Dependent Students or an  Income Adjustment Appeal for Independent Students. The loss of income may be due to loss of employment, loss of benefits, divorce, death, a natural disaster or some other major change. These forms are available on our Forms page.
  • If you or your family have unusual expenses that were not reported on your financial aid applications, you may complete an Expense Adjustment Form. This form is available on our Forms page.
  • If you would like to be reconsidered for a financial aid award that you didn’t receive (such as Federal Work-Study), complete and submit an online Workstudy Appeal Form.

You must visit the Financial Aid Office and speak with a financial aid counselor for all the above situations except the last.

Apart from the federal and state financial aid programs described in this web site, there are a number of other sources of financial assistance to help you meet your costs of education.

  • 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. Learn about your eligibility for these benefits at the Veterans Administration GI Bill website or contact the college’s veteran’s counselor in the Office of Student Affairs.
  • If you have served in the armed forces in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf or Afghanistan, you may be eligible for a New York State Veterans Tuition Award. Learn about your eligibility for this award and download an application at the Higher Education Services Corporation website.
  • You may be eligible for an American Opportunity or Lifetime Learning education credit, either of which you may claim when you file your taxes. You could also qualify for a tuition and fees income tax deduction. Learn more about these important tax benefits at: Tax Benefits for Higher Education.
  • Adult Career & Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) is a NYS government office that provides a variety of educationally related services and some financial assistance for eligible students. For more information, visit New York State’s ACCES-VR (Vocational Rehabilitation) website or contact your local ACCES-VR office.
  • 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. For more information concerning your eligibility for TRE payments, contact your local OES center.
  • If you are in foster care, were adopted from foster care after age 16, or have been aged out of foster care, and are between the ages of 17 and 20, you may be eligible for financial assistance for college and vocational training through the New York Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program. Learn more about the program and fill out an online application at the NY Education and Training COucher Program website.
  • 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 nearly a dozen NYS-sponsored academic award programs, visit HESC’s Grants, Scholarships and Awards.
  • BMCC offers more scholarships than any other CUNY college to students who have attained a high degree of academic excellence. You are encouraged to visit our Scholarships page for information about any of these scholarships.
  • If you wish to conduct your own scholarship searches, we can recommend the following free scholarship search pages:

We do not recommend the use of any scholarship search that charges a fee. If you have to pay money to get money, it’s probably a scam. Learn how to avoid fraud in your search for scholarship money at the US Department of Education’s Scholarship Scams web page.

You, the student, must partner with the Financial Aid Office to insure that you get the financial help you need to attend college. In order for the Financial Aid Office to do its part, you have to do your part.

You Have The Responsibility To:

  • Keep all your contact information (postal address, email and telephone) up to date in your CUNYfirst account.
  • Check your BMCC e-mail regularly for messages about your fianncial aid.
  • Complete your applications accurately and provide correct information at all times. Reporting false information is a violation of the law and may be considered a criminal offense.
  • Be aware of and meet all application deadlines. You must complete your applications early enough so that processing may be completed by the stated deadline.
  • Submit any additional information or documents required by the Financial Aid Office before the stated deadline.
  • Keep your parents informed of all financial aid requirements and deadlines if you are a dependent student.
  • Read and understand all forms you are asked to sign and keep a copy of each. If you don’t understand, ask a financial aid representative.
  • Notify the Financial Aid Office if the information reported on your financial aid application has changed.
  • Notify the Financial Aid Office if at any time during the year you receive any type of financial assistance that is not listed on your award notice.
  • Notify the Financial Aid Office if you are receiving financial aid for attendance at another institution while attending BMCC.
  • Know and comply with all terms, conditions and policies associated with the awards you receive.
  • Begin attendance in your classes. Financial aid is awarded with the expectation that you will attend school for the entire period for which your aid was intended.
  • Continue to make satisfactory academic progress in your program of study according to college and CUNY standards.

You Have the Right To:

  • Know what financial aid programs are available, including information on all federal, state and BMCC financial aid programs. Learn more.
  • Know the application procedures and deadlines for each of the available financial aid programs. Learn more about how to apply. Learn more about when to apply.
  • Know how your financial aid eligibility is determined. Learn more.
  • Know how financial aid is awarded and the basis for these decisions. Learn more.
  • Know how and when financial aid is disbursed. Learn more.
  • Know how BMCC determines whether or not you are making satisfactory academic progress, and what happens if you are not. Learn more.
  • Ask a financial aid counselor to review your financial situation if something has changed in your family circumstances such as loss of job or other drastic changes. Learn more.
  • Confidentiality of your personal information.  All records and information submitted with your application for financial aid are confidential, and subject to legal requirements concerning disclosure of such information. Learn more.
  • Know about the college’s tuition refund policies if you have to withdraw from school after the semester begins. Learn more.
  • Know what effect withdrawals will have on your eligibility for financial aid payments. Learn more.

You have additional rights & responsibilities if you receive a Federal Direct Loan or Federal Work-Study.