College of Staten Island
 The City University of New York
 
  
Student

Adult Learner
 FAQ's

 

Q: Is there an age limit to receive federal student aid?
A: There is no age limit. Almost everyone is eligible for some type of federal student financial aid.

Q: I attended college years ago and earned some college credit. I’m currently working and would like to know if I would be eligible for any financial assistance?  Where do I start?
A: As with someone who’s never been to college or who is not working, you start with filing the FAFSA.

Q: Is that the financial aid application? Is there an application fee?
A: No, applying is free, and FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You can file at www.fafsa.gov.  It covers all the major federal student financial aid programs, like the Pell Grant, SEOG, and Federal Work-Study, etc. It is also necessary to apply for a Federal Direct Loan.

Q: How about aid from the state or the city?
A: The other major financial aid program for New York State residents is TAP. To receive TAP and most NYS scholarships you must be taking at least 12 credits that count toward your major, and you must be a NYS resident for at least 12 months before the month in which the semester begins.

Q: How do I apply for TAP and other New York State aid?
A: As you complete the FAFSA, there will be a link to www.tapweb.org, where you can complete the TAP application.

Q: Do I need to report my income?
A: On the FAFSA, you report your income along with asset information. The number of years of income you need to report are detailed on the form. Visit the Financial Aid website for more information.

Q: I lost my job and decided I would like to go back to school. I no longer have that income. Can I do anything about that?
A: Yes. You can speak with a financial aid counselor to discuss the possibility of adjusting the income that you report on the FAFSA.

Q: What is the Federal Direct Loan? Are student loans considered financial aid?
A: Yes, student loans are considered financial aid. The Federal Direct Loan is a program from which students can borrow money to pay the costs of attending college.

Q: Do students need to pass a credit check to receive a Direct Loan?
A: No, a credit check is not required for students to receive a Federal Direct Loan.

Q: Does that mean I can receive a Direct Loan, if I don’t have any credit or I am not working?
A: Yes. You may qualify for a Direct Loan whether you’re working or not, and regardless of your credit history.

Q: What is a Parent Plus Loan? Is that credit-based?
A: The Federal Parent Plus Loan is credit-based. It is a loan that a parent takes out from the federal government to pay the costs of attendance for a dependent child taking 6 credits or more (or the equivalent) as a matriculated student in a post-secondary institution. If the parent does not pass the credit check by the US Department of Education, the loan is denied.

Q: I am looking to change my career and want to come back to school. I already received a bachelor degree.  Is there any funding I can receive?
A: Yes, subject to some restrictions in the main aid programs. You cannot receive a Pell Grant once you have a bachelor’s degree. You can receive up to 8 semesters of TAP. If you’re a qualifying NYS resident and did not receive 8 TAP awards while studying for your first bachelor’s degree, you may still be eligible for TAP. Similarly, there is an overall limit to how much you can borrow in Federal Direct Loans, and it’s a fairly high limit. If you did not reach this maximum during your first degree, you may receive a Direct Loan during your second degree.

Q: Where can I discuss Veterans benefits?
A: Veterans, and spouses or children of Veterans can discuss possible assistance related to the veteran’s status with a representative in the Office Of Veterans Support Services. General information about grants and loan repayment options for military personnel is also available at www.studentaid.ed.gov/military.

Q: Where Can I receive additional information about financial aid?
A: You can visit our website at www.csi.cuny.eu/finaid, or Enrollment Services, in the atrium of building 2A, or the Financial Aid Office, building 2A room 401. You can also call (718) 982-2030

Q: With my work schedule, is there an email address I can write to with my questions?
A:  Yes, financialaid@csi.cuny.edu.

Q: Are there financial advisors with whom I can discuss my specific circumstances?
A: Yes. After contacting Enrollment Services or the Financial Aid Office, you will be able to discuss your situation with an advisor, if necessary.

Q:  What are some ways to reduce my education expenses?
A:  If you are currently working, see if your employer offers Employer Tuition reimbursement. There are also a variety of scholarships you may be eligible for. For Scholarship assistance visit the Scholarship Office  You can also call to schedule an appointment with Michele Galati in Scholarships at 718-982-2300.

Q: I need to retake basic math, reading or writing how can I do that and will it be costly?
A: CSI offers two grant funded support programs Immersion (through the office of Academic Support) and CUNYstart, that help students build their academic skills. Visit their websites for more information.

Q: I have small children, does the college offer childcare?
A: Yes, CSI offers childcare from infant to school age children. Visit the Childcare website for more information

Q: I have college credits from many years ago, can I still use them?
A: Yes, college credits never expire although you may need to re- take some courses to refresh your knowledge. You can transfer those credits in by sending them to be evaluated by our transfer unit. Visit the transfer website for more information.

Q: I worked for many years, can I get college credits for all of that work experience?
A: Yes, once you have completed at least 15 college credits at CSI we will evaluate your life experience credit. You must fill out this Prior/Experiential Learning form  and bring it and all supporting documents to the academic department that relates to your work experience for evaluation. If you have questions about life experience credit you can also visit our Prior Learning page for more details or email your questions to us adultlearner@csi.cuny.edu

Q: I never finished High School, can I still go to college?
A: Yes, you can enroll as a non-degree student by filling out Application for Visiting and Non-Degree Students and earn college credits while getting your HS Equivalency! Once you have completed 24 college credits you can apply to the NY State Education Dept.:   

NEW YORK STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
High School Equivalency (HSE) Office
P.O. Box 7348
Albany, New York 122240348
(518) 4745906

You may still need to take special testing for placement into basic math and English courses if you do not meet the pre requisites for enrolling into college level courses. You can contact the admissions and/or testing office for testing information.

Q: I’m not sure what I should major in or what courses to take for my interests who can I contact?
A: Contact the CSI Academic Advisement center and make an appointment or send your questions to: “ask the advisor” .

Q: I need help with study skills or paper writing who can I speak with?
A: Visit the Academic support webpage contact the CSI Academic Support center or send an email to: Need tutoring? Test help? Christopher Cuccia.

Q: I have questions about my career choices based on my interests is there someone I can speak with?
A: Visit the CSI Career Services Center at Career Services or send an email to: Joan DimeoLyons, a specialist in Adult Learner Career support.

Q: I have Childcare needs is there someone I can contact with my questions or schedule a visit to the childcare center?
A: Yes, schedule an appointment to take a tour of the Children's Center! Or send your questions to: Margaret Rooney

Q: When can I enroll in classes, how do I see what courses are offered and the college catalog?
A: Visit the Registrar’s website for the answer to these questions and more... You will find information on registration, course schedules, semester calendars, transfer credits, transcripts, graduation, certifications and the catalog. You can also email your general questions regarding any of these areas to registraroffice@csi.cuny.edu

Q: Does the College give credit for Prior Learning? How do I start?
A: Yes, CSI offers credit for "Experiential" and "Exam" based (CLEP, CHALLENGE..) Prior Learning and you must be a matriculated student (If you are taking a course here as a non-degree student, consider your long-range goals and switch to a degree program). Begin by seeing an advisor to go over your degree requirements to see what you need to earn your degree. Before petitioning for prior learning credits you need to see if these credits can fit into your degree.

Q: What are some examples of documented "Experiential" Prior learning?
A: Non-traditional courses, certificates or continuing education courses earned in the Military, Business, Government or Health agencies. Have the record of the completion of those courses or certificates sent to the attention of transfer area at CSI for evaluation.

Q: My experience wasn’t gained through taking courses at work, what do I do then?
A: Each case must be determined on its own merits and there are a few general principles to keep in mind. First, your experience must correspond in a very demonstrable way to a course that CSI offers (although elective credit can also be given), and your knowledge must be at a college level. Secondly, your experience must reflect a solid basis of the theoretical as well as the practical aspect of the subject. Job-related courses that are mechanical in nature or narrowly focused (air security officer school courses, for instance) cannot be used to challenge the “broader-based” courses. Finally the learning must be verifiable. You must be able to submit evidence of what was learned by presenting documentation such as certificates, letters of recommendation and bibliographies.

Q: Are there some examples of what "Experiential" Prior learning might translate into college credit?
A: Job Experience- A technician for the “National Grid” may be eligible for some credit in science or a stockbroker for credit in finance. Community Service- A volunteer at a park conservation center who gives nature walks and researches the local flora and fauna for the park services may be eligible for science credit. A volunteer at a shelter, who helps the residents manage their daily lives may be eligible for some social science credit. The Arts- A community theater actor, musician, artist or artisan (who perhaps has a business selling their handmade work) might be able to receive credit in art.

Q: What exactly is a "Portfolio"?
A: The portfolio is a method that helps students demonstrate what they have learned outside of the classroom. The Portfolio may include a “Biographical Sketch”, your Resume, your professional objective (what your education and/or career goals are), the courses being “challenged” (requested for credit…list discipline, course number, course title and credits), the relationship between your knowledge and the course content , and finally any other documentation you have such as recommendations, certificates, workshops attended…etc.  Faculty will review your most compelling documentation so it’s important to highlight the most relevant information in your materials.

Q: How many credits can I earn by preparing a Portfolio?
A: The maximum number of credits you can be awarded for all Prior learning is 15 credits (which also includes any credits obtained through special exams such as CLEP and CHALLENGE exams or non-traditional coursework such as ACE).

Q: Who will be assessing my Portfolio once I submit it?
A: It is up to the academic departments to approve the credits. For this reason no guarantee can be given that your prior experiential learning will earn credit. Departments vary in their criteria for awarding credit.

Q: How long will it take to get the credits on my record?
A: The timeline is based on the departments involved in the evaluation and their turn-around (a minimum of six weeks can be expected). The faculty need time review all of the materials and sometimes additional information is requested. It is difficult to predict and therefore it is advised to not wait until your final semester to request this type of credit.