Applying for Financial Aid & Federal Work-Study

Financial Aid Info:

Approximately $90 billion in financial aid money is awarded to college students every year, and sixty-two percent of full-time college students receive financial aid or scholarships to help them pay for school (College Board). Even if you think you won’t qualify for aid, you should apply -it’s free. 

Types of Financial Assistance:

  • Grants – Money that doesn’t have to be repaid
  • Scholarships – Money that doesn’t have to be repaid and usually is awarded on the basis of academic merit
  • Loans – Money for school that you must repay with interest
  • Work-Study- Money earned from a job through your college financial aid office

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) must be completed by everyone who wants federal aid, and most financial aid programs require it. There is no charge for completing the FAFSA. It should be filled out online at as soon after January 1st as possible. The FAFSA form will automatically direct students to the New York State TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) application, which all students must also complete. Although the federal deadline for FAFSA is May 1st, most college deadlines are in February or March. Filing after a deadline will mean less money, so file on time!

Work-Study Questions:

How do I apply?

To be considered for this award, you must fill out your financial aid applications by an established filing deadline and request consideration for FWS by checking the appropriate box on the FAFSA. FWS money is awarded on a first-come, first served basis. The College receives a fixed amount of money each academic year to make FWS awards. Once this money is awarded, there is no more for that academic year. You are encouraged to file your financial aid applications early when you receive your award letter from the College, it will indicate whether or not you have been awarded FWS.

Am I paid an hourly wage or a salary?

You are paid by the hour, your rate of pay being determined by the job location and the nature of the work involved. You will receive at least $7.25 per hour for on-campus positions. The rate of pay can be higher for jobs off-campus but will be no lower than $7.25 per hour.

Are work-study earnings taxable?

The money you earn from Federal Work-Study is generally subject to federal and state income tax, but exempt from FICA taxes (provided you are enrolled full time and work less than half-time).

Federal Work-Study earnings during the calendar year should be included in the totals for AGI on the FAFSA. Work-study earnings should only be included when they represent financial aid to the student, since the answer to this question is used as an exclusion from taxed income. The student should also be careful to report amounts based on the calendar year, not the school year.

For information on financial aid and available scholarships contact the Financial Aid Office at the CUNY College you plan to attend.

General Information on CUNY admissions

212 997-CUNY(2869)


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