Frequently Asked Questions

The Financial Aid Process

The application process for almost all federal, state, local and college financial aid programs begins with the filing of a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application. It is through filing the FAFSA that you will receive consideration for Pell Grant, campus-based aid and begin the TAP application process.

You can submit a FAFSA by...

  • Filling out an online FAFSA. This allows the transmission of your information directly to the federal government and eliminates the need for a paper FAFSA. In order to file an online FAFSA, you must use your FSA ID. If you are a dependent student, required to submit parent information on your FAFSA, one of your parents will need a FSA ID also.
  • Be sure to enter the Lehman College Federal Title IV code, 007022, in the appropriate boxes. Lehman College will not receive your application information unless you indicate it on your FAFSA.
  • If you filed a FAFSA for the previous academic year you may file the FAFSA renewal online. If you previously attended a different college, make sure to indicate Lehman College's school code, 007022.

The FAFSA application now becomes available on October 1st of the year preceding the academic year, and uses income data from the "prior-prior" year. (For example, the FAFSA for 2023-2024 will ask for 2021 income data, while the FAFSA for 2024-2025 will ask for 2022 income data.) While it is possible to submit a FAFSA throughout the academic year, you should file the FAFSA as early as possible before the start of the registration period. This way, you will be able to use awarded financial aid funds at registration (rather than pay all of your tuition from your own funds and wait for reimbursement). However, sooner is always better than later, because requests for clarification, verification, and/or correction can lengthen the time needed to complete the process and delay the availability of funds. Students requesting College Work-Study  should file their applications as soon as possible, as funding for this program is limited, and awarded on a first come, first served basis

Look out for the Student Aid Report

After you submit your FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). Your SAR is a paper or electronic document that gives you some basic information about your eligibility for federal student aid as well as listing your answers to the questions on your FAFSA.

Locate Your EFC / SAI

After locating your SAR, you may want to start by looking for your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Your EFC is a measure of your family’s financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established by law. Its formula considers your family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) as well as your family size and the number of family members who will attend college.

**Please note beginning with the 2024-2025 FAFSA, you will now longer receive an EFC, you will now have a "Student Aid Index" or SAI.

Make Corrections to It

Did you fill out FAFSA before your tax information was complete? Do you need to update any information? Did you find a mistake? Don't worry! It easy to make corrections online. Log in and click “Make FAFSA Corrections.” Corrections should be processed in 3-5 business days and you should receive a revised SAR. Please do not make any changes if you've already submitted your documentation to the Financial Aid Office.  We will make any necessary changes for you.

Review Your Financial Aid Information

Read all of the SAR. The last page of your SAR includes information about your financial aid history, specifically the loans you have taken out. It can be complicated and confusing to keep track of all of your loans and interest rates, but it is very important. Reviewing the financial aid history in your SAR will help you be aware of how much you are borrowing and how much you’ll owe later.

Double-Check on your CUNYfirst account and with the Financial Aid Office.

Pay close attention to alerts on your TO DO list, which will indicate to you what documentation, if any, must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office in order to complete your financial aid processing.

Some of the phrases that will indicate that you need to submit appropriate documentation to the Financial Aid Office are:

  • "Your school will ask you to provide certain financial documents..."
  • "The name you reported on your application doesn't match..."
  • "The Department of Homeland Security did not confirm..."
  • "The Social Security Administration (SSA) did not comfirm..."
  • "Your parent's total income appears to be unusually low."

If any of the preceding phrases appear on your SAR, review the definition of documentation in this web site's glossary in order to determine which document(s) best prove(s) the accuracy of the SAR information. Take the appropriate document(s) to the Lehman College Financial Aid Office as soon as possible. The Financial Aid Office will do SAR correction(s) electronically. Feel free to visit the Financial Aid Office whenever questions arise regarding incorrect answers on your SAR and/or SAR processing in general.

If you are a resident of New York State and are or will be an undergraduate student, you may be eligible for Tuition Assistant Program awards. You can fill out your FAFSA and TAP form in the same sitting. Links to TAP are located at the bottom of the online FAFSA application. Find the section on the page entitled "New York Residents". Click that link and you will be taken to the website of the New York Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC). The HESC website will invite you to complete an on-line TAP application.

If you did not file an online FAFSA or if you forgot to "click" the link for New York State Residents, you can still apply for TAP via the HESC website.

Regardless of the type of TAP Application to be filed, read the application carefully. The application has been pre-printed or filled-out with information and assumptions based on the answers you submitted on your FAFSA. Complete your TAP application by answering unanswered questions and/or changing incorrect answers. Make all changes in appropriate column, "The Answer Should Be", for the paper application or "Modify Your Answer" for the on-line application.

  • Note: Do Not Change Your Correct Answers

The TAP application uses a different school code than the FAFSA does. Be sure to enter Lehman's code, 1412, in the appropriate boxes. This will ensure that your TAP award will be sent to Lehman.

You can view CUNY's information regarding your financial aid application status and awards through your CUNYfirst account. Not only will CUNYfirst be able to give reliable estimates regarding financial aid award totals, tentative disbursement dates, submit Federal Loan application and file a CUNY Supplement form, but it can also alert you to any number of problems. For example, if your application requires clarification and/or documentation (generally referred to as ‘verification’) your ‘Tasks and Holds’, will inform you as to what to submit and how to submit to the Financial Aid Office.

While fairly accurate, CUNYfirst awards will at first be tentative. Eligibility for these awards will be determined based on your enrollment and other eligibility criteria. Your awards will also be posted on your CUNYfirst account and may be viewed from the Student Center.

You can access your complete financial aid award package by following these instructions:

  1. Log on to CUNYfirst and click on the Student Center
  2. Click on Financial Aid
  3. Click the correct Aid Year (The current year is 2023-24 - this covers Summer 2023, Fall 2023 and Spring 2024)
  4. Review your Award Summary

The primary purpose of the FAFSA is to determine Financial Need. A formula called Federal Methodology is applied to the information submitted on your FAFSA. The formula takes into account your family's income and some types of assets. The formula result is called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), for the 2023-24 . It indicates how much money you and your family are expected to contribute toward your cost of attendance. If your EFC is below a certain amount, you will be eligible for a federal Pell Grant (assuming you meet all other eligibility requirements).

Concerning eligibility for other Title IV federal student aid programs, your EFC, the Pell Grant you are eligible for, and any other aid you may get from other sources are subtracted from your cost of attendance. The result is your remaining financial need.

In short:
Cost of Attendance - EFC - Federal Pell Grant Eligibility - Aid from Other Sources = Financial Need

Remaining financial need can be met through a variety of federal Title IV programs (SEOG, Federal Work-Study and loans) and NY State student aid programs (TAPAPTS, SEEK, etc.). Keep in mind that TAP, APTS and other non-federal aid programs may use a different need analysis formula than does the family of federal aid programs.

Financial need is merely one of the criteria used to determine eligibility for U.S. federal and New York State Need Based Aid. In general, students must also meet the following criteria:

  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate,
  • Be working toward a degree or certificate (be a matriculated student),
  • Be enrolled in an eligible program,
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen,
  • Have a valid Social Security Number,
  • Register with the Selective Service if required (you can use the paper or electronic FAFSA to register) and
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress and Enrollment Status once in school.

Students who drop or withdraw from classes may lose part or all of that semester's financial aid and should consult a financial aid counselor before changing enrollment status. Changes in enrollment status can have consequences beyond the loss of a semester's worth of financial aid. A change in enrollment status can result in:

  • Increased "out of pocket" payments towards tuition,
  • Having to repay received funds back to U.S. Department of Education,
  • The loss of part or all of the following semester's financial aid,
  • A student loan being forced into repayment.

After the processing of your SAR and TAP/APTS application, you will receive the following additional documents:

A TAP Award Certificate will notify you of your eligibility for TAP funds. Review this carefully for your name, Social Security Number, college and academic period of award. If the certificate has an error, come to the Financial Aid Office for correction instructions. If the award certificate is correct, keep it for your records and do not submit it to the Financial Aid Office. Your TAP award will be sent directly to our computer file.

CUNY Financial Aid Award Letter is the final response to the filing any FAFSA, and will be emailed to your college email account. The letter will indicate how much TAP, Pell, Work-Study, and/or other campus-based aid that you are being offered. It may also include estimates of your TAP and/or PELL awards.