Credit Requirements, Withdrawals, and Other Policies

Minimum Credits for Aid

Doctoral students receiving institutional aid (fellowships and assistantships) must be registered full time (at least seven credits/WIUs) to maintain eligibility.

Master's students receiving a merit scholarship must be enrolled for at least six credits to maintain eligibility.  All other scholarship recipients, must enroll for a minimum of one credit to maintain eligibility.

Any student receiving federal student aid (Federal Work-Study and Federal Direct Loans) must be registered for six or more credits/WIUs.

HOW TO GET PAID ON-TIME

Doctoral students receiving fellowships should review the following cheat sheets to ensure timely payment.

Incoming GC Students (PDF)

Incoming GC International Students (PDF)

Continuing GC Students (PDF)

Continuing International GC Students (PDF) 

Auditing Classes

Audit classes do not count toward your eligibility to receive institutional and federal student aid.

Financial aid is not available for audited classes, and doctoral fellowships/master's scholarships cannot be used to cover the cost of audited courses.

Course Withdrawals

Withdrawing from a course can impact your financial aid. Before withdrawing from a course, please contact the Office of Fellowships and Financial Aid.

If you need to withdraw from a course, you must do so before the last date to withdraw as posted to the Academic Calendar by the Registrar. If you need to withdraw after this date, an additional signature from the VP of Student Affairs is required.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I WITHDRAW FROM ALL OF MY CLASSES?

The total dollar amount of aid a student is eligible to receive is affected when they drop all of their classes. Students who want to drop all of their classes should come to the Office of Fellowships and Financial Aid to speak with a financial aid counselor about the implications of their decision.

WHAT HAPPENS TO MY FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS IF I DROP BELOW HALF-TIME/SIX CREDITS BUT DO NOT WITHDRAW COMPLETELY?

Eligibility for federal loans is determined on the day of disbursement. Students who drop below half-time (six credits/WIUs) after their loan is disbursed, but do not withdraw from all classes, will be able to keep their federal loan disbursement. They will not be eligible for any future loan disbursements until they are once again enrolled at least half-time. Students who drop below half-time will need to complete exit counseling online, even if they plan to be at least half-time the following semester. 

Please be aware that course withdrawal can negatively impact satisfactory academic progress. Students should consult the financial aid office if they are considering dropping below six credits and relying on federal student loans to cover their tuition and/or living expenses.

MY FEDERAL AID FUNDS BE RETURNED IF I WITHDRAW?

If you withdraw from all of your courses during the term, the Office of Fellowships and Financial Aid will determine if any of the federal aid you received should be returned to the Department of Education. Students who drop below half-time will need to complete exit counseling online, even if they plan to be at least half-time the following semester. 

Federal student aid eligibility is based on the length of time a student attends their classes. If you do not attend your classes for the entire term, federal regulations may require that you return all or a portion of the federal aid received. The Office of Fellowships and Financial Aid will be notified of your withdrawal and will perform a federal  Return of Title IV (R2T4) calculation. This calculation will determine how much of your federal aid you have earned and how much must be returned.

Federal aid will be returned in the following order:

  1. Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans
  2. Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans (undergraduates only)
  3. Federal Direct PLUS Loans
  4. Federal Pell Grants (undergraduates only)
  5. Iraq & Afghanistan Service Grants (undergraduates only)
  6. FSEOG (undergraduates only).
  7. TEACH Grants (The Graduate School and University Center does not currently participate).

If you receive all WU, W, NGR, WA, and/or WN grades for a term, the Office of Fellowships and Financial Aid must perform this calculation (if you have received federal student aid other than Federal Work-Study). The number of days remaining from the school’s last date of attendance determines the repayment percentage.

WILL I RECEIVE A REFUND IF I WITHDRAW?

Refunds may be granted if valid reasons for withdrawal are presented. Please see the Graduate Center Student Handbook for full refund policies.

WILL DROPPING ONE OR MORE CLASSES AFFECT MY STANDING OR FUTURE AID AWARDS?

Dropping one or more classes may result in the cancellation of future loan disbursements and/or may result in you having to return money to the school. Dropping classes may also impact your Satisfactory Academic Progress. Contact the Office of Fellowships and Financial Aid for more details about the calculation of returns and available disbursements. You can read more in the below FAQ section. 

DOCTORAL STUDENTS WHO HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT WITHDRAWALS AFFECTING THEIR FELLOWSHIP FUNDING- PLEASE SEE THE BELOW FAQ SECTION. 
MASTER STUDENTS WHO HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT WITHDRAWALS AFFECTING THEIR SCHOLARSHIP- PLEASE SEE THE BELOW FAQ SECTION. 

SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS

You must be making satisfactory progress toward the degree to maintain your status at the Graduate Center and remain eligible for any student financial assistance.

In general, a Graduate Center student is deemed not to be making satisfactory progress if they have:

  • A grade point average below 3.00
  • Accumulated more than two open grades (INC, INP, NGR, ABS, and ABP)
  • Completed more than 45 credits without having passed the First Examination
  • Completed 10 semesters without having passed the Second Examination
  • Received two NRP grades in succession
  • Exceeded the time limit for the degree (specific programs may have rules that differ)

Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and School of Labor and Urban Studies students should refer to their college’s websites for information on their Satisfactory Academic Progress policies.

Please refer to the sections on “Incomplete Grades,” “Standards for Retention,” “Computation of Grade Point Average,” and “Time Limits for Degrees,” which appear in the Student Handbook's section on “Academic Policies and Procedures” on pages 55 through 57.

The Graduate Center reviews each student's record every semester. If formal standards have not been met, a student may register (and receive financial aid, if otherwise eligible) only upon petition of the student's Executive Officer to the Vice President for Student Affairs. Students whose petitions are approved are considered to be making satisfactory progress toward the degree and are eligible to receive financial aid.

Additionally, after spring grades are posted, the Office of Fellowships and Financial Aid runs its own Satisfactory Academic Progress review. In addition to checking the metrics above, we are also required to check the pace of your degree. In order to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress for financial aid purposes, you must earn 66.66% of the credits you attempted.

If you receive an email from the Office of Fellowships and Financial Aid indicating that you are not making progress and you wish to file an appeal, you should follow the instructions below based on your FAFSA filing status: 

For students with a valid FAFSA on file, please create an account or log on to Campus Student Forms. Students will be able to download and complete the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal form in consultation with their academic advisor.

Graduate Center

School of Labor and Urban Studies

School of Journalism

Students who have not filed a FAFSA should email financialaid@gc.cuny.edu for further instructions.

External (Non-CUNY) Competitive Funding policy

Effective Fall 2022

Students are strongly encouraged to seek funding from sources outside the GC to support their research and dissertation writing.  The experience of applying for and receiving prestigious external awards can provide an invaluable professional development experience. These grants may be offered by government agencies, private foundations, or corporations. Please be aware that each particular fellowship will have its own unique set of benefits and responsibilities, including amounts, durations and restrictions.

Students have an obligation to inform their program and the Provost’s Office of any external grants they receive. Each case will be reviewed individually, and the Graduate Center will do its best to comply with all external award requirements. Please note that external award requirements can impact the assistance the Graduate Center is allowed to offer a student.

If you receive an external fellowship/grant totaling less than $20,000, the external award can be combined with your ongoing GC support.

One-Year External Fellowship exceeding $20,000

If you receive a one-year external fellowship/grant totaling $20,000 or more, you may be able to choose one of the following options, if allowed under the terms of your external fellowship:

  1. Defer your GC fellowship. If necessary, the GC will cover tuition and it will not count against the five years of support.
  2. Receive an external fellowship “top-up.” The GC will provide funds such that your combined support (GC + external) exceeds your normal GC support for the year. The additional GC support will be limited to $10,000 above the external fellowship award, but the combined amount cannot exceed a maximum $55,000 for the year.

NOTE: For students who choose this option and have a five-year fellowship, the top-up will replace a year of your GC fellowship and none of your GC fellowship funds will be deferred.

Multi-year External Fellowship (2-4 years) exceeding $20,000

GC fellowship funds cannot be combined with an external fellowship exceeding $20,000 and will not be deferred while you hold the external fellowship. If you receive a multi-year external fellowship/grant totaling $20,000 or more per year, you will be awarded a Graduate Assistantship D for the years supported by the external fellowship, if allowed under the terms of the external fellowship. 

cohort default rate 

The Graduate School and University Center’s Cohort Default Rate (CDR) is consistently lower than the national average. For information on our current CDR, visit the National Center for Education Statistics website.

 

 

In order to receive a fellowship, you must be registered full time (seven credits/WIUs) at the end of the third week of the semester. Audit credits do not count towards full time enrollment for financial aid/fellowship purposes.

Tuition fellowships/tuition remission will pay for the number of credits you are registered for at the end of the third week. But the number of credits you are billed for will be the number you were registered for on the first day of class. If you drop credits, you will owe the cost of those credits minus the refund you are entitled to receive. 

Students who drop below full time but remain enrolled will have their fellowship — including tuition coverage — cancelled, even if they are still being charged tuition for the credits they have dropped. You will be responsible for paying any remaining tuition charges and returning any stipend funds you have been paid.

If you withdraw from all of your courses before 60 percent of the semester has passed (for fall 2022, before November 4th. For spring 2023, before April 1), your fellowship — including tuition coverage — will be cancelled, even if you’re being charged tuition for the credits you have dropped. You will be responsible for paying any remaining tuition charges and returning any stipend funds you have been paid.

If you withdraw from all of your courses after 60 percent of the semester has passed (for fall 2022, November 4th or later. For spring 2023, April 1 or later), you will be able to retain your fellowship and tuition coverage.

Course withdrawal can affect your academic progress and future financial aid eligibility. If you are considering withdrawing from a course, you are strongly advised to speak with financial aid about the impact of the withdrawal on your financial aid.

Master's student receiving a merit scholarship must be enrolled for at least six credits to maintain eligibility. All other scholarship recipients, must enroll for a minimum of one credit to maintain eligibility. Audit credits do not count towards enrollment for financial aid/scholarship purposes.

Students who drop below the minimum enrollment requirements for their scholarship will have their scholarship cancelled, even if they are being charged tuition for the credits they dropped. You will be responsible for paying any remaining tuition charges and returning any scholarship funds you have been paid.

If you withdraw from all of your courses before 60 percent of the semester has passed (for fall 2021, before October 30th. For spring 2022, before April 3), your scholarship — including tuition coverage — will be cancelled, even if you’re being charged tuition for the credits you have dropped. You will be responsible for paying any remaining tuition charges and returning any stipend funds you have been paid.

If you withdraw from all of your courses after 60 percent of the semester has passed (for fall 2021, before October 30th. For spring 2022, before April 3), you will be able to retain your scholarship and tuition coverage.

Course withdrawal can affect your academic progress and future financial aid eligibility. If you are considering withdrawing from a course, you are strongly advised to speak with financial aid about the impact of the withdrawal on your financial aid.

Students have an obligation to inform the program they are applying to of any external grants they receive. Each case will be reviewed individually, and the Graduate Center will do its best to comply with all external award requirements. Please note that external award requirements can impact the assistance the Graduate Center is allowed to offer a student.

If a student chooses to transfer programs, their original fellowship will not transfer with them.  Students can be considered for a new fellowship by their new program, but only for the remaining years of 5-year funding. For example, a student enrolls in the Political Science program with a 5-year funding package. After two years, the student transfers to the Linguistics program. The student could receive a 5-year funding package, but would only have 3 years of eligibility. 

If a GCF receives an internal fellowship (any fellowship offered by a GC entity to a GC student, regardless of funding source) comparable to the amount of their GCF, the internal fellowship will replace their GCF funding with no deferment of their GCF. Examples of such fellowships include: Dissertation fellowships, Mellon Curatorial, Vera Foundation Fellowships, TLC Fellows, CUNY BA Fellows, MALS Fellows, GCDI Fellows, Futures Initiative Fellows, and Presidential Research Fellows among others.

If you are appointed to a graduate assistantship, you must complete the 15-week service requirement each semester. If you do not complete the service requirement, your salary will be canceled for the remaining weeks of service and you will only be eligible for a Tuition Fellowship, where applicable

Students who are employed as graduate assistants on departmental adjunct lines or as research assistants by individual grant holders must show satisfactory performance in these activities. If this performance is found to be unsatisfactory, such employment may be terminated. This type of termination is independent of satisfactory academic progress.

If you have questions about your service requirement or placement, you should contact Anne Ellis or Rosa Maldonado in the Provost’s Office.

Students are allowed to receive a maximum of 7 years of GC institutional funding (from either internal or external sources) which must be used in their first 9 years of enrollment.

Once a student has successfully defended, they are no longer eligible for new institutional funding.

Fellowship Deferrals

The following policy applies to Graduate Center Fellows, Provost’s Enhancement Fellows, Neuroscience Fellows, CUNY Science Scholars, and Five-Year Tuition Fellows.

  1. Students with a five-year fellowship are allowed up to two semesters of fellowship deferment during approved Leaves of Absence. No separate application is required.  Any additional semesters of deferment, beyond the standard 2,  must be approved by a student’s department’s EO and the Associate Provost/Dean.
  2. First-semester students are not eligible for a fellowship deferment or a leave of absence. Second-semester students are not eligible for a fellowship deferment if they take a leave of absence unless the student can provide documentation from a physician that the student is medically unable to return to school for the spring semester. With such documentation and approval from the student’s Executive Officer and the Provost’s Office, the student may defer one semester of their fellowship to a sixth year. This semester of deferment will count towards the maximum of two-semester maximum as outlined below.
  3. After their first year, students on Graduate Center Fellowships (GCF), and Provost’s Enhancement Fellowships (PE) who take a leave of absence from the Graduate Center may defer a maximum of two semesters of their fellowships (tuition, financial aid fellowship, benefits, and services) to a sixth year. Students on Five-Year Tuition Fellowships (TF) may defer their tuition award for up to two semesters.
  4. After their first year, students on Neuroscience Fellowships (NF) and CUNY Science Scholars (CSS) who take a leave of absence from the Graduate Center may defer a maximum of two semesters of their fellowships (tuition, financial aid fellowship, benefits and service) to a sixth year. The NF or CSS may be deferred only for medical reasons or to conduct research in an off-campus setting and must have the approval of the program’s Executive Office and the student’s Research Mentor.
  5. Students holding Science Fellowships and students who are offered alternate CUNY funding should contact the Provost’s Office for more information (aellis@gc.cuny.edu and rmaldonado@gc.cuny.edu ).
  6. COVID-19 – For the duration of the COVID emergency, the GC’s deferment policy will be flexible for students facing additional challenges as a result of the pandemic.

The deferral assumes that the student is also on a Leave of Absence from the GC during the semester(s) of deferment. There are separate administrative processes and guidelines for taking a leave of absence. For more information contact the Registrar’s Office.

Students with a five-year fellowship are allowed up to two semesters of fellowship deferment during approved Leaves of Absence. No separate application is required. 

Any additional semesters of deferment, beyond the standard 2,  must be approved by a student’s department’s EO and the Associate Provost/Dean.