Financial Aid FAQ

Financial aid is any support given to students by the government or their institution to help defray their education cost. You can receive assistance in the form of federal loans, work-study, or scholarships. You are encouraged to apply early for financial aid if you feel that you cannot afford the total attendance cost.

Most students are eligible to receive some form of financial aid. Each program has different eligibility standards, and you must take responsibility for meeting the criteria for each application. To apply, you must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, be enrolled in a degree program, and be making satisfactory academic progress.

All students wishing to receive financial aid must file a FAFSA form at, which will help us determine your expected family contribution. We create the family contribution using an analysis of your total annual income, assets, number of dependents, etc. The difference between the expected family contribution and the estimated cost of attendance equals financial need.

You can get a copy of your FAFSA by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID. The online version of the form is available at

HAVE SOME ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS: Go to, Federal Student Aid’s primary online portal for students for information about completing the FAFSA, as well as frequently asked questions about the IRS DRT returning for the 2021-2022 FAFSA.

Get an FSA ID– A FSA ID is a username and password that you must use to log in, sign, and make corrections to your FAFSA. You and at least one of your parents will each need an FSA ID. Be sure to save your FSA ID as you will need it to reapply and access your information each year. You can also complete your FAFSA using the myStudentAid Mobile App.

To be eligible for both federal and state aid, a student must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen. For financial aid purpose, an eligible non-citizen is one of the following:
  • a U.S. permanent resident who has an Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-551);
  • a conditional permanent resident (I-551C); or
  • a non-citizen with an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with one of the following designations—“Refugee,” “Asylum Granted,” “Parole,” or “Cuban-Haitian Entrant.”

Family financial information is confidential. Information about your financial aid award is not released outside the law school administration without the student and family’s approval unless required by federal law or subpoenaed by a court of law. If we suspect fraud on an application for federal assistance, the law school is required to report this information to the U.S. Inspector General’s Office. Data from the student’s file will be released to authorities pursuing an investigation.

You can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) with questions about the FAFSA on the Web or paper application process. Online help for completing the FAFSA is available here. Help text is available for every question on the FAFSA if you apply online using FAFSA on the Web at You can also get free live help online at this website.

Yes. You may apply for federal financial aid even if you have not submitted your admissions application. However, you will not receive any funds until you are an enrolled student.

Students can complete the FAFSA beginning October 1st of the year they will enroll in law school. The Office of Financial Aid recommends that students complete the FAFSA as soon as possible once the application is available. Late applicants may not be eligible for Federal Work-Study because these funds are limited to the law school and offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

You are still encouraged to apply for aid if you did not complete and send a FAFSA before the May 20XX deadline. However, please note that it may delay your student loan refund by two weeks.

Yes. You must re-apply for financial aid each year by completing the FAFSA or renewal application.

The Veterans Administration administers programs for veterans and service people seeking assistance for education and training. If you are a veteran or dependent on a veteran and plan to receive educational benefits, as determined by the Department of Veteran Affairs, contact the Office of Financial Aid at well in advance of enrollment to request certification. For additional information regarding eligibility for any of the veteran’s educational programs offered, please call the toll-free number 1-888-GI-BILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) to speak with a Veterans Benefits Counselor or access the website at or visit and choose, Financing Your Education.

You are considered a veteran to fill out the FAFSA if you have engaged in active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard) or are a National Guard or Reserve enlistee. You must not have been dishonorable. If they called you to active duty for other than state or training purposes, you were a cadet or midshipman at one of the service academies. If you are not on active duty in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard but will be a veteran by June 30, 2023, you are considered a veteran for FAFSA purposes.

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) allows students and parents who filed a U.S. tax return with the IRS to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and to transfer the data directly into their FAFSA form.

While we recommend that you complete your tax return before filling out your FAFSA, it is unnecessary. You can fill out the FAFSA using estimated information from your W-2. Any significant discrepancies between your FAFSA and your tax return may significantly impact any initial financial aid award you receive.

A few days after you complete the FAFSA, you will receive an email with a link to your Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR contains a summary of your FAFSA information and a calculation of your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – the number used to determine your federal student aid eligibility. Review your SAR to see if additional information or corrections are needed. You can also access your SAR at

If you are still waiting to receive your SAR Acknowledgement within two weeks or SAR within four weeks after submitting your application, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). You can use the automated system to determine whether your application has been processed or request duplicate report copies. You will need to provide your Social Security Number and the first two letters of your last name. You can also check the status of your FAFSA and print a copy of your SAR here If you apply for FAFSA on the Web, you will get a confirmation notice after clicking Submit My FAFSA.

If you need to make corrections to the SAR, you can make them online at You can create a few SAR information changes by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

The financial aid application process is complete when the following exist:
Upon completing the FAFSA application, you will receive a confirmation email, which lists the law school code G31913. You can review all documents required by Financial Aid on your “To Do List” on the Student Center page.
Suppose “Verification” is required or comments exist as a result of the processing of the FAFSA. In that case, additional documentation may need to be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid to resolve the issue.

The Federal Processor selects a certain number of applicants for a verification process. Verification is the process the law school uses to confirm that the data reported on your FAFSA form is accurate. If you are chosen (which will be indicated on your SAR), the law school will request additional documentation that supports the information you said.

All students receive federal financial aid with the expectation that they will attend school for your enrollment period. Suppose you withdraw from all of your classes before you have completed the semester. In that case, the law school will determine the portion of your federal awards you are entitled to receive according to a prescribed attendance formula. Any unearned disbursed amount of the aid will need to be repaid to the law school and the U.S. Department of Education.

To qualify for financial aid, you must begin attending your classes. Attendance information is collected from your instructors and used to determine whether you began attending your classes. The credits for unattended courses are not counted when calculating your enrollment status to resolve your financial aid eligibility.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Following federal and state guidelines and CUNY policy, you must be making satisfactory progress in your program of study to remain eligible for federal and state awards. Your academic record will be evaluated at least once each year according to the satisfactory progress standards established for each financial aid program. Please review more detailed information regarding these standards at CUNY Law.

Every institution must publish standards of good academic standing and satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes. These standards are on the Financial Aid Website. Some educational requirements include the following:
A minimum grade point average
A minimum number of credits earned each term
A minimum number of cumulative credits reached each payment period
The Federal Government requires institutions to develop these standards because it wishes to monitor the fact that students progress toward their educational objective, i.e., a baccalaureate degree, etc. These measures ensure that reviews occur and that the institution complies with the regulation.
Sometimes, a student fails to comply with the SAP standard due to extenuating circumstances beyond the student’s control. If such events can be documented for the specific semester(s) when you did not meet those standards, the student may appeal to their financial aid suspension. The student must submit an SAP Appeal form with supporting documentation to the Financial Aid Office. The SAP Appeal is on extenuating circumstances that affected their academic performance. Examples of possible extenuating cases are:
Serious illness
Severe injury
Death of a family member
Other similar situations
Please email for details on submitting an appeal.
If we deny your appeal, you will not receive financial assistance for one or more terms. Students must cover all tuition liabilities out of pocket.
If you remain enrolled without receiving Federal Student Aid, then we will review your academic record at the end of the semester.
Eligibility is regained for subsequent terms in the academic year.

Many factors (e.g., household size, number of family members in college, income, certain assets, etc.) determine your eligibility for financial aid, it is difficult to estimate your eligibility based on income alone. The Office of Financial Aid recommends that every student applies for financial assistance at least once to have their eligibility reviewed. Keep in mind that, in general, any accepted student is eligible for some financial aid regardless of their calculated financial need.

The 2022-2023 academic year’s tuition cost will be $15,450 for In-State Residents and $25,640 for Out-of-State Residents. The total cost of Attendance for the 2022-2023 year includes tuition plus other charges such as fees, rent, transportation, books, and other related expenses, which will be $41,602 In-State and $51,792 for Out-of-State Residents. The entire cost of Attendance for 2022-2023, which includes tuition & fees, room & board, and personal expenses, is available on the law school website.
The tuition for the 2022-23 academic year will be $10,610 for In-State Residents and $17,630 for Out-of-State Residents. The total cost of Attendance for the 2022-2023 year, including tuition plus other charges such as fees, rent, transportation, books, and other related expenses, will be $36,546 In-State and $43,566 Out-of-State. The first part-time year includes a mandatory summer session of six credits at $655/ credit for in-state students or $1,065/ credit for out-of-state students, as well as fees for the summer session. Subsequent years do not require summer sessions. The entire cost of Attendance for 2022-2023, which includes tuition & fees, room & board, and personal expenses, is available on the law school website

You must process your financial aid and register for classes at least two weeks before the beginning of the semester to opt-in to receive a book advance before the first day of classes. Remember, however, that while every effort is made to issue a book advance, we cannot guarantee that the money will be available when you buy your books. Therefore, you should use other funds to buy your books.

The living expense portion of your student budget at CUNY Law reflects a nine-month award. As a student budget, it is prepared to reflect a student’s lifestyle, not a working professional. The grant includes your basic education-related expenses.

We created the financial aid budget with the idea that the primary responsibility for paying law school costs rests with the student. The amount of aid you are eligible to receive depends on your family’s financial circumstances and resources.
When you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the federal government uses the information you supply to assess your family’s financial situation and calculate an estimated family contribution (EFC) for you.
Your EFC estimates the amount you contribute toward your education costs based on your financial aid application documents’ information.
More about Your EFC
Your estimated family contribution (EFC) consists of the following:
  • Student Contribution: an estimate of what you might be able to contribute toward your law degree costs for the year based on your income and a percentage of your savings and other assets.
  • Once your EFC is determined, the amount of federal and need-based institutional aid you are eligible to receive is calculated using this equation:
    • Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
    • Other Financial Resources (private scholarships, etc.)
    • Eligibility for Need-Based Aid
We subtract your EFC and any other financial resources you have to apply toward your college costs from your cost of attendance. These resources include any private scholarships or gifts you’ve received that are not part of your family’s income and assets.
The Federal Work-Study(FWS)
is a federal employment program that subsidizes wages for eligible students to pay for their educational expenses. The Federal work-study program is a campus-based program that the U.S. Department of Education administers. The program provides you with an opportunity to be placed into a part-time job that accommodates your academic schedule.  You can work in an eligible off-campus or on-campus position.
William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan)
Students can borrow up to $20,500 Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans each year. As of 2012, the federal government is no longer providing Subsidized Federal Direct Loans to graduate students, so only the Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan and Federal Direct Grad Plus loan is available. Matriculated students enrolled at least half-time may apply for this loan. Direct Loans are made directly by the U.S. federal government and processed through our CUNYfirst system.
The Interest rate for the Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans issued through June 30, 2021, is 4.30 percent. Students will have to pay a small origination fee of 1.057% to process a Federal Direct Loan. There is a six-month grace period following the student
borrower’s last date of at least half-time attendance before payment is due after the grace period. Loan repayment begins monthly. With the Unsubsidized Loan, interest accrues while the student is still in school and during the grace and forbearance periods. Federal Direct Loans refunds are in two installments, at or near the start of each semester.
All students who borrow through this program must have an Entrance Interview and a signed Master Promissory Note in place before their loan disbursement. The Master Promissory Note and entrance interview can be made online at Students will also need to complete an exit interview before graduating or taking a leave of law school absence.
Federal Grad Plus Loan
The Federal Grad Plus Loan is another need-based federally funded student loan. CUNY Law students who are enrolled at least half-time may apply for this federal loan. A Grad PLUS Master Promissory Note is required, and a credit check is completed online at If the student does not have adequate credit, they may require a co-signer to obtain the loan. Award amounts are usually disbursed in two installments (one-half each semester). The Grad Plus loan’s interest rate through June 30, 2021, is 5.30%, with a loan fee of 4.228%. Interest accrues from the time the loan is refunded. Repayment periods vary from 10 to 30 years and begin six months after graduating, leaving law school, or dropping below half-time study. The interest rates for the federal loans are recalculated on July 1, each year.

Once your financial aid application and documents are submitted, and you demonstrate financial need, we will send an award notification to incoming students in June/early July and continuing students in March, for which you qualify.

  First Disbursement Date
 Payable to Student 
Spring 2023
Summer 2023
Fall 2023
Spring 2024

Admitted students can request a non-binding estimated award letter at All you have to do is make sure that you have a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form on file. Your non-binding award will reflect a law school-constructed estimated budget that assumes certain expenses required to support a law student in our area. For example, the estimated budget assumes that the student is sharing an apartment and is responsible for the support of other family members. The Federal Needs Analysis Formula includes offsets for the household size that reduces the family contribution for larger families, thereby increasing the potential financial aid.

All first-time borrowers must complete entrance counseling. To achieve this, you can visit the Direct Loan website at before registration. A first-time borrower has not previously received a Direct Loan Unsubsidized or Grad Plus Loan at this institution.

The Master Promissory Note (MPN) is your agreement to repay the lender. You must complete the online MPN if this is your first time borrowing a Direct Loan. For your convenience, you may electronically sign and submit the MPN online from

Generally, grants and scholarships that do not exceed tuition, fees, books, and required supplies are not considered income. Student aid is considered income when it’s taxable for student grants and scholarship aid, such as fellowships and assistantships.