Financial Aid FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Financial Aid

The Financial aid application (FAFSA) is available on October 1. The FAFSA used the previous year’s tax data. Now, students will file the FAFSA using tax information from two years prior.

Yes, you need to reapply and submit the FAFSA every year.

Yes, the FAFSA will now be looking at your tax return from two years ago (known as prior-prior year information).

Students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their eligibility for Federal financial aid.

To qualify for Federal student aid a student must:

  • Be U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Be enrolled in a degree/certificate granting program
  • Be in good academic standing
  • Not be in default of previous student loans
  • Not owe a repayment of any previous Federal student aid awards
  • Register for at least 6 credit

We always recommend you borrow the Federal Direct loan first, Graduate PLUS loans second and all other private/alternative loans as a last resort.

A graduate student can borrow up to $20,500 in an unsubsidized loan. Because SPH is a graduate school in public health, SPH students are eligible for an additional $12,500 in unsubsidized loans for an academic year covering 9 months, or an additional $16,667 in unsubsidized loans for an academic year covering 12 months.

The only service the financial aid office is able to provide for international students is to certify private student loan applications. Most international students will be required to provide a co-signer. They must find a lender on their own. A search on the internet for “Alternative student loans” or “Private student loans” should provide helpful lender information.

Financial aid packaging typically begins in mid-March assuming your FAFSA is completed. You will receive an email when your package is available to view.

Graduate and Doctoral students will be awarded an unsubsidized loan automatically on CUNYfirst, students can accept or decline their Direct Unsubsidized and Graduate plus loan directly on CUNYfirst.

Please see this page for more info:

The amount of tuition depends on what degree you are applying for. Please review tuition and fees information by visiting this page:

You must be registered for at least 6 credits each semester to be eligible for a federal loan.

Yes, as long as the semester or academic year in which you are enrolled has not ended. Students must submit all financial aid paperwork at least 3 weeks prior to the end of the semester for the loan to be processed.

If you have borrowed in excess of your tuition balance, the refund will be direct deposited into your bank account if you are signed up for direct deposit, or mailed to your permanent mailing address.

A deferment is a period of time where the borrower can suspend payments as long as the student meets certain eligibility criteria. Please visit for more information.

As long as you are enrolled at least part-time (6 or more credits) each semester, then you may qualify for an in-school loan deferment on your Federal loans for that semester (as long as the semester has begun). The Registrar’s office will report electronically 2 weeks into the semester that you have returned to school to the Student Loan Clearinghouse. You will want to confirm with your lender/servicer if they participate or if you have to file paperwork. If so, paperwork can be sent to the Registrar’s office.

Exit counseling provides you with important information to prepare you to repay your federal student loan(s). Students can complete exit counseling at Please visit the loans tab for more information.