2022 USS Scholarship Applications are CLOSED

No Extensions Will be granted


Recipients will be contacted sometime in August 2022. Recipients names will also be posted on our website. 



What are the eligibility requirements for the USS scholarships? Graduate students must be registered for at least (3) three credits and have a GPA of 3.0, or for doctoral students who have completed their coursework, be in good standing in Spring 2022.. Undergraduates must be registered for at least (6) six credits and have a minimum GPA of 2.5. Students must be registered for the required number of credits in the Fall semester of the year for which they are applying and must attend classes for that semester.


First semester students and graduating seniors who are not returning to CUNY for the Fall 2022 semester are NOT eligible to apply.

I want to apply for the USS Scholarship but I don't see a notification in my CUNYFIRST account, can I still apply?  If you did not receive a notification in your CUNYFIRST account, you do not meet the initial criteria to be eligible to apply for a USS scholarship

What semester(s) is this scholarship for? The University Student Senate scholarship is for the Fall 2022 semester ONLY. 

Can I apply for more than one (1) scholarship? No. Students can only apply for one scholarship. If you are eligible for more than one scholarship, please choose only one. 

How many scholarships are available? What are the GPA requirements to apply? We have a total of (4) four scholarships available.

1. Donald & Mary Ellen Passantino International Students Scholarship: Minimum GPA 2.5

2. Donald & Mary Ellen Passantino Students with Disabilities Scholarship: Minimum GPA 2.5

3. Graduate Peer Mentoring Scholarship: Minimum GPA 3.0

4. Ernesto Malave Merit Scholarship: Minimum GPA 3.5 

What is the award amount for each scholarship?

1. Donald & Mary Ellen Passantino International Students Scholarship: $1000

2. Donald & Mary Ellen Passantino Students with Disabilities Scholarship:$1000

3. Graduate Peer Mentoring Scholarship: $1000

4. Ernesto Malave Merit Scholarship: $1500

Can my recommendation come from anyone? The recommendation letter MUST be from a CUNY Faculty/Staff member who has overseen applicants' activities. The CUNY faculty/Staff member can be from any CUNY campus.


I want to change my recommender, but I submitted my application already. What can I do? It is strongly suggested that you make sure that the recommender is willing to write a recommendation letter for you. We ask that all applicants contact their intended recommender before submitting their email address. Please send an email to scholarshipuss@cuny.edu with your first/last name, the recommenders first/last name, and the recommenders email address and we will resend the link.

What is the deadline for recommendation letters? Recommenders have until May 14th, 11:59pm to submit the letter of recommendation. 

Where can I send my recommendation letter? In the application, it asks that you provide the email contact for your recommender. Once that's complete, CUNYFirst will send a generated email to the recommender with instructions on how to submit the letter. 

I haven't registered for the fall 2022 semester yet, so I can't upload my Fall 2022 e-bill. What should I do?. We understand that course registration dates vary at each campus. Therefore, uploading your fall 2022 bill is an option and not a requirement. If you have already registered for the fall semester, you can upload your e-bill; if not, this will not be a determining factor during the selection process. If selected as a recipient, we will confirm if you have registered for fall courses to receive your award. 

What is a USS Delegate or Alternate?  A Delegate or Alternate is a student representative who is a direct member of the University Student Senate Plenary. In addition, Delegates/Alternates are elected to serve by their local student government or by their division of any college comprising the CUNY system.

I am eligible to apply but when I click on the link I get an "error" message what should I do? Please try a different browser, make sure your WIFI is connected and disable your pop-up blocker. We also recommend that students have downloaded the latest browser version and clear the web browser cache, then try accessing the scholarship portal again through CUNYFIRST. 

Can I change the scholarship I selected before submitting?

No. Once you select the scholarship type and proceed to the second page, you will not be able to change your scholarship selection. 


How is the scholarship disbursed? Two steps within CUNYFIRST enable a scholarship to be applied to your account and, in the appropriate circumstances, paid or refunded directly to you.

  • Scholarships will be disbursed in the Fall 2022 semester.

  • The first step is for the scholarship to be “awarded”, which means it is posted to your CUNYFIRST account. Scholarships will be awarded AFTER the final Add/Drop (census) date for the Fall semester. If you have an outstanding balance (tuition and fees), the scholarship will be applied to that balance.


  • The second step is for the scholarship to be “disbursed”. This means that any funds that remain after your balance is paid are refunded directly to you. If you have no outstanding balance, the entire amount that was “awarded” will be refunded to you. This typically means that a check will be sent to you but there are other means of disbursement depending on how your account was set up. The time frames for disbursement differ from campus to campus. Many campuses disburse according to a calendar that is set up in CUNYFIRST. Some campuses may, in some instances, manually disburse your scholarship once any balances are paid.  Note that if you have been selected for verification, your scholarship cannot be disbursed until your verification process has been satisfactorily completed.

Will this scholarship be added to my financial aid package?  Yes. Scholarships are part of your financial aid package and are subject to the limits of your financial aid budget. You cannot receive more scholarship aid than the unmet need in your financial aid budget. If your scholarship is greater than your unmet need, it may be reduced. It may be possible to adjust your financial aid budget and/or your financial aid package to accommodate your scholarship. You must consult with your campus financial aid advisor on how your scholarship could possibly affect your financial aid package and whether or not any adjustments can be made.


What is the deadline to apply? April 30th, 2022 is the deadline to submit all documentation to be considered for the scholarship. No documents will be accepted after the deadline. 


When will we be notified of a decision? Applicants will be selected and notified by the end of August 2022 via email. 


How competitive is the scholarship? The USS Scholarship is very competitive. There will be one winner selected for each scholarship per campus. 


How are the scholarship applications evaluated? Applications are evaluated on a point scale, with emphasis on the applicants' letter of recommendation and personal statement. In addition, our student-led scholarship committee thoroughly reviews all applications. 



Who comprises the scholarship committee? The scholarship consists of the University Student Senate Steering Committee, USS Delegates/Alternates and various student leaders from the CUNY Community. 


I will NOT be attending a CUNY school in the Fall, can I still apply? No. Only students who will be attending a CUNY institution in the Fall are eligible to apply.  



How are applicants selected? Applicants must submit a letter of recommendation personal-statement, and resume as part of the application process. These will be the deciding factors in determining the recipients. The applications will be reviewed by our student-led scholarship committee and graded on a point scale. 



I'm an international student. Do I have to have a tax id to receive the scholarship, what other documents do I need? We understand that many international students do not possess a tax ID number. However, according to CUNY policy in order to make the scholarship available, each applicant is required to have a tax ID number or an ITIN to receive the award. International students must also be registered with their campus’s International Students Office and must provide a verification letter from the office stating that you are currently an international student.



Can I edit my application after I submit? You can save and edit your application. However, once you submit you will not be able to edit the application.


Can I email my documents?  All required documents must be uploaded in a PDF format through CUNYFIRST. No documents will be accepted by email. 


I am a student with a disability, but I do not receive services from my local campus disabilities office, can I still apply for the Donald & Mary Ellen Passantino scholarship for students with disabilities? NoTo be eligible for this scholarship you must be registered at your campus disabilities office. You must also provide a verification letter. 


How can I get more information about the University Student Senate and its mission? Yes you can, please contact your local student government and visit our website usscuny.org to get more information and get involved!