Financial Aid FAQs

Have questions about the financial aid process at CUNY SPS?

Our staff answers some of the most frequently asked questions students have about financial aid. Just click on a question you're interested in to view the video or text. If you don't find what you need here, contact us at (646) 664-8720 or financialaid@sps.cuny.edu.

How to Apply for Financial Aid

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After You Apply for Financial Aid

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What does it mean that your FAFSA was selected for verification? It means your FAFSA will require further review by the school’s financial aid office. Who is selected is determined by the Department of Education and is usually random, but it must be completed in order to determine what your financial aid eligibility is.

There are particular data elements of the FAFSA that must be verified, generally including income and household size in addition to other data. You will be assigned a verification form (on the To Do List on CUNYFirst) which you must complete and submit to our office. You will also receive an automated email with a link to the form. For those of you whose income must be verified, you can provide the information in one of three ways: by using the Data Retrieval Tool which takes your income information from the IRS and transfers it onto your FAFSA, by submitting the tax return transcript which you can request from the IRS, or by submitting a copy of your signedtax return.

There may be cases where further documentation is necessary to complete the review, and in these instances we will let you know what you must provide.

That you are selected does not necessarily indicate that you completed the FAFSA incorrectly. We may be able to verify the FAFSA without making changes to it. Other times, we may have to update the application, but once that new application loads, we can verify the FAFSA.

The FAFSA is the application that determines a student’s eligibility for federal financial aid which means both federal grantsand loans. If the FAFSA is not verified, you will not be eligible for financial aid, including student loans.

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After You Are Awarded Financial Aid

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Professional Judgment

This refers to a financial aid officer's review and override of the data used to determine student's aid eligibility because of the existence of special family or personal circumstances. Initiated at the student's request, a Professional Judgement review can be used to address the following, as well as other special circumstances:

  • Loss of base year income
  • Parental or spousal impairment, dysfunction, or abandonment
  • Unusual and/or unusually high family expenses
  • Death of spouse or custodial parent(s)
  • Divorce or separation
  • De facto or early emancipation of student from parent(s)

Override decisions are determined on a case-by-case basis. All requests for review must be supported by documentation. The decision by the financial aid administrator is final and cannot be appealed.

Final Note: If a student is selected for verification by the US Department of Education, verification must be completed before an appeal can be submitted.

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