Untangling Your Financial Aid

The scene at CCNY's financial aid office

The scene at CCNY’s financial aid office

Don’t let confusion about your money stress you out by Carrie Jeremy

 The financial aid office, located in the Willie Administration Building Room 104 is one busy place. At this time of year, students flood the office verifying that all the paper work for student money is intact. To receive a book advance a student needs TAP, PELL and/or SEOG. Students can receive a maximum disbursement of $652.00.

Plenty of students have the issue of not receiving funds on time, or not appearing at all. The new integration of Degreeworks with financial aid is making Fall 2014 especially challenging. Some students using CUNYfirst, still have an outstanding balance available even with financial aid covering tuition.

Leslie Cruz, an ad/PR major and junior at CCNY, is dealing with that issue. “I receive PELL, TAP and SEEK, and haven’t received my money all,” she says. “The financial aid department was rude and just told me to wait, while the SEEK department was willing to help me.”

Arshaw Ramkaran, director of the financial aid department, explains each case is different. “A lot of students enroll in classes that don’t go with their schedule,” she says. “Courses need to go towards the 120 credit curriculum, if one of four courses don’t, you aren’t entitled to TAP.”

Checking TAP or PELL can save the hassle of students dealing with financial aid stress. Once documents are received they need to be verified and confirmed. “It takes two days, one day to send and another to be received and uploaded,” according to Ramkaran.

Three cycles for disbursement take place and recur a week apart.

1)    Cycle 70: August 20th-27th

2)    Cycle 80: August 27th– September 4th

3)    Cycle 90: September 4th-10th

Funds will be available the following week, if information is updated in the system on the day a cycle starts or mid-week. Based on the issue, the financial aid department can assist with errors. Students should check to see why they are not eligible, and stay on top of their cases. “The 14-15 disbursement schedule is being worked on,” Ramkaran says. For further information try the financial aid website.