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Fellowships & Funding

Policy FAQs (Federal Aid)

1. What is a Federal Perkins loan and am I eligible? 

2. What happens to my Federal Perkins loan if I leave school?

3. What is deferment for a Federal Perkins loan?

4. What is a forebearance for a Federal Perkins loan?

5.  What is a Federal Perkins loan cancellation?

6. Where can I find information about all of my student loans?

7. What does the service entail for the Graduate Center Fellowship?

8. What does the service entail for the CUNY Science Scholarship?

9. What does the service entail for the Presidential MAGNET Fellowship?

10. After the five years of the fellowship, are there any other forms of support available?

11. Can I undertake extra teaching or research at CUNY, beyond that required by my graduate assistantship, for additional compensation?

12. How will continuing students be notified about awards?

13. What health insurance options do doctoral students have?

14. Are there other restrictions I should be aware of?

15. Where can I get help with any of these questions?

1. What is a Federal Perkins Loan and am I eligible?

A Federal Perkins Loan is a need-based, low-interest federal student loan.  Perkins Loans carry a fixed interest rate of 5%.  The school is the lender; payment will be made to the school’s loan servicer, ECSI.  The Perkins Loan program has a nine-month grace period so that borrowers begin repayment in the tenth month upon graduating, dropping below half-time or withdrawing from school.

The Perkins Loan program, as currently authorized by the Department of Education, will expire on September 30, 2016.  Perkins Loans can only be awarded to borrowers who received a loan under the Perkins Loan Program prior to October 1, 2015.  Those borrowers can receive additional Perkins Loans in order to continue or complete the same academic program for which the last loan was received.

2. What happens to my Federal Perkins loan if I leave school?

The initial grace period begins after you are no longer enrolled at an eligible status, meaning when you drop below half-time enrollment (6 credits or 6 equated credits), graduate, take a leave of absence or withdraw from school.  The initial grace period lasts nine (9) months; subsequent post-deferment grace periods are for six (6) months.  No interest accrues nor are payments due during a grace period. You have to begin repaying your loan when your grace period ends.

Once you enter repayment, CUNY’s loan servicer, ECSI, will send you a monthly billing statement.  Applications for deferment, forbearance or cancellation of your loan can be requested through CUNY’s loan servicer, ECSI, or The Graduate Center.  For further assistance you may contact the loan servicer at 1-888-549-3274 to speak to a representative or contact the Federal Perkins Loan Coordinator at The Graduate Center.  Your CUNY Federal Perkins Loan account information is available at ECSI: www.ecsi.net.  You will need your ECSI PIN to access your loan account information.

3. What is deferment for a Federal Perkins loan?

A deferment is a period of time during which no interest accrues nor are payments due.

Once your loan(s) enters repayment you are obligated to make regular and timely payments. However, under certain circumstances, you may be entitled to have the repayment of your loan deferred. At the end of your deferment period you are entitled to a six-month post deferment

grace period.  Deferment is NOT Automatic.  You must apply for a deferment in writing, by using a deferment form obtained from the University’s billing servicer, ECSI.  Deferment forms can be obtained on-line at www.ecsi.net.  Supporting documentation is usually required.

4. What is a forbearance for a Federal Perkins loan?

It is a temporary postponement of payments. If you are willing but financially unable to make the required payments on your loan(s), you may request that the school grant forbearance.  You must apply for a forbearance in writing, by using a forbearance form obtained from the University’s loan servicer, ECSI.  Forbearance forms can be obtained on-line at www.ecsi.net.

Forbearance is usually granted for 6 months at a time.  Interest accrues and must be paid by the end of the forbearance period.  The total period of forbearance is limited to three years.

Forbearance and extensions on forbearance are not automatic.  For an additional forbearance you must submit a new request.

5.  What is a Federal Perkins loan cancellation?

As one of the benefits of your Federal Perkins Loan you may be eligible to have up to 100 percent of your loan cancelled by engaging in certain types of public service and community based work.  If you engage in any of the types of work listed in the link below you may be eligible to have part, or all of your entire loan cancelled. Your loan may also be cancelled in the event of total and permanent disability or death. For more information about loan cancellation visit: https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts#perkins-loan-cancellation

Cancellations are NOT Automatic.  If you are eligible for a cancellation, it is your responsibility to complete the appropriate forms and submit them to the loan servicer on a timely basis.  Contact the University’s loan servicer – ECSI – or you can download forms from their web site at www.ecsi.net.  Please note that additional documentation is usually required.

For information regarding cancellation benefits visit our loan servicer service web site www.ecsi.net or visit the Department of Education web site www.studentaid.gov and search for cancellation benefits of the Federal Perkins Loan Program.

6. Where can I find information about all of my student loans? 

NSLDS is the National Student Loan Database System, www.nslds.ed.gov.

It contains information about all (undergraduate and graduate) the Federal student loans a student has borrowed; whether paid or unpaid.  The NSLDS record includes lender(s), servicers, outstanding principal balances and current loan status. In order to access NSLDS you must use your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) ID.  Alternative loans are not reported to or recorded on NSLDS. You will need to contact your alternative loan lender directly for information about those loans.

7. What does the service entail for the Graduate Center Fellowship?

In the first year of the GCF, the required service is a graduate assistantship B (GAB). The GAB requires 7.5 hours per week of service for your academic program. Usually this is in the form of research assistance for a faculty member.

In years two, three, and four of the GCF, fellows are required to teach one course per semester at one of the CUNY undergraduate campuses. Campus placements are made by your doctoral program.

In year five of the GC Fellowship, the required service is a nonteaching graduate assistantship on one of the CUNY campuses. This will require fifteen hours per week of service as part of the CUNY-Wide Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Program.

8. What does the service entail for the CUNY Science Scholarship?

In the first year, there is a modest service obligation related to professional development and research laboratory rotations. In the second through fifth years of the award, there are usually some teaching assignments arranged by the campus where the fellows do their research.

9. What does the service entail for the Presidential MAGNET Fellowship?

In the first year of the Presidential MAGNET Fellowship, the required service is a graduate assistantship B (GAB). The GAB requires 7.5 hours per week of service, which will be assigned by the executive officer of the Office of Educational Opportunity and Diversity Program (OEODP).

In years two and three, Presidential MAGNET Fellows are required to provide 7.5 hours of service each week in OEODP, serving as mentors for undergraduate students in the CUNY Pipeline Program.

In years four and five, Presidential MAGNET Fellows may choose either to continue to work 7.5 hours a week, serving as a research assistant in OEODP, or to teach one course each semester in their discipline at one of the CUNY undergraduate colleges. If a fellow chooses to teach in years four and five, the campus placement is arranged by the fellow’s doctoral program.

10. After the five years of the fellowship, are there any other forms of support available?

Students who hold multiyear fellowships may not hold another fellowship concurrently. However, students past year five who are no longer on their multiyear award may apply for other awards, such as the Graduate Center Dissertation Fellowships, GC Digital Fellowships, Program Social Media Fellowships, and fellowships funded by various centers and institutes.

11. Can I undertake extra teaching or research at CUNY, beyond that required by my graduate assistantship, for additional compensation?

Students holding a graduate assistantship are usually able to teach one course per semester as an adjunct. Contractual workload rules apply (Graduate Assistantship Descriptions).

12. How will continuing students be notified about awards?

Students are required to use their Graduate Center email addresses. All offices, including the Provost’s Office, Financial Aid, and Human Resources, will send important notifications and information to your GC email address.

The Financial Aid Office administers financial aid fellowship and tuition awards; the Provost’s Office and Human Resources administer graduate assistantships.

13. What health insurance options do doctoral students have?

Doctoral students with multiyear fellowships, those holding a graduate assistantship, and those serving as adjuncts are eligible for low-cost NYSHIP health insurance.

Doctoral students who do not hold a graduate assistantship or adjunct appointment, or those on faculty grants, can purchase GHI student insurance (The CUNY GHI Student-rated Policy for Domestic and International Students).

14. Are there other restrictions I should be aware of?

  • Financial support is contingent upon the fellow being registered full-time and in good academic standing.
  • Notifications of financial awards are normally emailed to the student’s Graduate Center email address. If a student has another preferred email, she/he is required to set a forwarding device (instructions for setting the forwarding device) on her/his Graduate Center email. The student must accept each award, including each individual component of a fellowship. Failure to do so will result in the award being rescinded.
  • Students with Graduate Center funding must have a U.S. Social Security number (SSN) or a taxpayer identification number (TIN).
  • Anyone with a criminal conviction for crimes related to controlled substances may be ineligible for federal aid.

15. Where can I get help with any of these questions? 

  • For questions about the service component of your award, contact the executive officer (EO) of your doctoral program.
  • For general or overarching questions about your fellowship and its components, contact Anne Ellis in the Provost’s Office at aellis@gc.cuny.edu.
  • For questions regarding the financial aid fellowship portion of your fellowship in years one and two, or the Tuition Fellowship during any fellowship year, contact the Financial Aid Office at financialaid@gc.cuny.edu.
  • For questions related to your appointment letter or your graduate assistantship workload, contact the Office of Human Resources at Humanresources@gc.cuny.edu.
  • For questions related to your NYSHIP health insurance, contact the GC’s NYSHIP coordinator, Scott Voorhees, at svoorhees@gc.cuny.edu.

 

**Please visit our website for additional policies

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