Who qualifies for Financial Aid?

Financial aid eligibility is need-based. It is the philosophy of need-based student financial aid programs that the primary basis for a student's educational support is the family. A combined effort by the parents and the student to meet college expenses is expected, and the total household resources are taken into account, except in unusual circumstances.
Financial aid is awarded when a family’s financial resources fall short of meeting educational expenses. The application used to determine the family's ability to pay and the amount of assistance the student qualifies for is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).


What is Financial Need?

Need is defined by Congress as the difference between the Financial Aid Budget and the amount the family can reasonably be expected to contribute. The amount the family is expected to contribute is calculated by the U.S. Department of Education from the answers you provide on your FAFSA application.

Financial Aid Budget
The Financial Aid Budget is an average, used for all students in a particular category, of direct costs (charges billed by SUNY Oneonta) and indirect costs (other costs you may incur while attending SUNY Oneonta) associated with attendance for the year. Ideally, your financial aid package, along with your personal resources, will cover the direct charges and indirect costs associated with attending SUNY Oneonta. Your actual costs will vary based upon choices you make for things like living arrangements, dining, type and frequency of travel/commuting, purchase of new/used books, and personal needs.

Direct costs are expenses billed and payable to SUNY Oneonta. They include such things as tuition, fees, and room and board (if you live on campus).  Charges for residence living and meal plans vary based on the living arrangement and meal plans you choose.

Indirect costs are other expenses, not specifically billed, you will reasonably experience during the course of the year. They include such things as books, transportation, room and board (if you live off campus), and miscellaneous personal expenses.

Financial aid disbursements are first used to pay direct costs. After direct costs are paid, any additional aid disbursements are refunded to the student/parent and can be used for indirect costs.


What is the student's responsibility?

In determining financial need, prior year (last completed tax year) income and assets are reported on financial aid applications. Students and parents will likely bear some financial responsibility for the cost of attendance.


How Do I Apply for Financial Aid?

SUNY Oneonta requires the following documents to be filed by all aid applicants:
  • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The FAFSA Processing Service distributes the results of your application to all named institutions and the applicant. Oneonta's FAFSA Title IV Code is 002847. Applications are NOW AVAILABLE IN OCTOBER! That is a change from the previous JANUARY 1st availability date!!! Be sure to file EARLY!!.

  • TAP Applications

The last page of the FAFSA will contain a link to New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC). When you choose this link, most of the federal data will carry over to your TAP application, while you complete the rest.

  • Verification

To verify the accuracy of information for selected students, the college may be required by the Department of Education to request supplemental information/documentation from an applicant. We will request this information from you. In many cases, once we begin reviewing this documentation, the review may lead to additional documentation requirements. As mentioned before, we  will always communicate any additional requirements at such time as it is necessary.


What if my family has special circumstances?

In some cases, the FAFSA data do not accurately depict the family's current financial condition. Certain unforeseen circumstances (i.e. unemployment, major health problems) may occur that cannot be reported within the application. Your financial aid counselor can work with you and your family if you are faced with special circumstances that are beyond your control. For further information, please review our Special Circumstances Fact Sheet.


What if I believe I am an independent student?

Congress defines dependency status for financial aid purposes. The FAFSA will walk you through a series of questions that will determine if you are an independent or dependent student for financial aid purposes. In extreme cases, and on a case-by-case basis, the law allows the institution  to exercise professional judgment allowing a student to be considered an independent student for aid purposes. For more information you can review our Independent Student Policy.


How is financial aid awarded?

Financial aid is awarded to students matriculated (accepted into) in an approved Degree Program/Program of Study based upon enrollment. The first step is the eligibility phase, which is represented by your award notification. The second step is turning eligibility into cash that you can use to pay your bill and/or be refunded to students/parents for indirect costs.  This second phase requires additional steps typically during the summer months.  For some kinds of financial aid, these steps are very easy; for others, they are more complex. You can rest assured that the staff in the Financial Aid Office will help you every step of the way.

In certain circumstances, such as when a student receives additional scholarship awards or becomes a Resident Assistant, we are required to make adjustments to financial aid awards. When a revision is made, we will notify you. Revised awards supersede all previous awards.


To be eligible for financial aid a student must be enrolled in a Degree Program/Program of Study. What is a Degree Program/Program of Study?

A degree program/program of study includes the Bachelor's of Arts, and Bachelor's of Science. The degree program/program of study must be an approved program and generally contains three categores/classifications of coursework requirements; 1. General education requirements, 2. Requirements specfic to the ( primary) major, and 3. Electives. The total credits of all requirements in all categories/classifications will total 122 semester hours (in the case of most SUNY Oneonta undergraduate programs). Financial aid eligibility can only be calculated based on coursework required for a degree program. 


Financial aid eligibility is based on enrollment. How is Financial Aid enrollment different from the the number of credits I am registered for? Do all aid programs define enrollment the same way?

Financial aid programs may differ in the way enrollment is calculated, in particular with regard to repeating coursework. Generally, credits must satisfy requirements defined by the degree program (degree applicable credits) you are matriculated in. If you take coursework which is not required by the degree program, that coursework will not be included in the enrollment calculation. 


What are degree applicable credits (DAC)?

Degree-applicable credit (DAC) is any credit required by your degree program. As mentioned above, DAC is any credit which may satisfy any requirements found in any of the three categories/classifications. Degree applicable credit is any credit that fulfills requirements defined by the student’s degree program.


I am enrolled in 12 credits. Why am I not receiving aid for 12 credits?

If some of your 12 credits are not required for your degree program, they are not degree applicable cedits (DAC). Financial aid eligibility for any given semester is based upon enrollment. Enrollment for financial aid purposes includes any credits required/defined by your degree program. Students cannot receive financial aid for coursework that is not required by their degree program.


What if I want to change my degree program?

Financial assistance is available for up to 150% of the published program of study. A student becomes ineligible for Federal assistance when it becomes mathematically impossible for him/her to complete his/her program within 150% of the published length of the program. Therefore, you must consider timing when considering changes in major. The change must occur such that you are still able to complete the program within the 150% allowance or you immediately lose your federal eligibility (you do not get to use remaining eligibility). In this situation, an appeal process is available.


I want to change my major/change my degree program . How does this impact my financial aid?

When a student changes a major/degree program, it may affect financial aid eligibility. Therefore, students contemplating changing majors/degree programs should seek advice from their financial aid counselors. Remember that only requirements of the primary major are considered DAC.


I want to add a secondary major. How does this impact my financial aid?

When a student adds a secondary major (or minor) the degree program does not change and, by extension, neither do the requirements defined by the degree program. Therefore, there is no impact on financial aid eligibility. This does require careful planning as requirements for the additional major/minor will not be considered in financial aid enrollment calculations. Students contemplating adding majors should seek advice from their financial aid counselors.


Can requirements for a secondary major or minor be considered DAC?

No. Degrees require only a single major (there may be isolated degrees that require dual majors). With careful planning, many students can complete a secondary major, minor, or concentration by taking those courses in their electives block. Please see an academic advisor for help with planning.


Does repeated coursework (assumed DAC coursework) count toward enrollment for financial aid purposes?

For State aid, if you already received a passing grade, and the grade met minimum standards for the major, the coursework cannot be included in enrollment calculations.If you failed the course it may be counted towards enrollment for financial aid, however, repeated coursework may also affect Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements.

For Federal aid, you can receive Title IV aid to pay for retaking previously failed coursework. However, repeatedly failing coursework will effect Satisfactory Academic Progress. Additionally, you can receive Title IV aid to pay for retaking, for the first time, previously passed coursework.


What if in my last semester I need fewer than 12 credits to graduate?

Aid eligibility will be calulated based on enrollment in DAC. Some exceptions exist:

For State aid (TAP grant and SUNY tuition credit), if in the student’s final term of study, “the student needs fewer than 12 DAC to complete the program, other courses may be included to determine full-time status, even if not required to complete graduation requirements.”  These non DAC courses need to be “new” non-repeated coursework.
For Federal aid, If you are taking less than 12 credits your aid eligibility will be prorated based on enrollment.

In any case, remember that retaken classes may count against satisfactory academic progress, and the student’s eligibility is still constrained by all the requirements of satisfactory academic progress.

These are complicated scenarios; it is best that students meet with their financial aid counselor to discuss DAC options for a final term. In some instances, part-time DAC enrollment does not significantly affect financial aid eligibility.


I am at/near/over 122 credits, but have not yet completed all of my degree requirements. Can I still receive aid?

There are scenarios in which a student has exceeded 122 credits and still has DAC to complete. (Examples might include students with transfer credits that (do not) apply toward their degree, or students who change their major.) As long as there are outstanding DAC, aid can be applied to those credits within the constraints of satisfactory academic progress requirements.


I need to take courswork not required for my degree here, but will help me prepare for graduate school? Why can’t I receive aid for that?

There are some exceptions for coursework required for admission into a new degree program. Please speak with your financial aid advisor about this situation.


What are some terms and conditions of financial aid?

We are pleased to offer you student financial assistance to help you meet your educational goals. The following are some terms and conditions under which financial aid awards are made to students. This is not an exhaustive list. Please remember that student aid programs are frequently modified by legislation.
Financial aid awards may be made prior to verification of data on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You will be notified if you are required to submit additional documentation for verification. Verification documents must be submitted within 10 days from the last day of enrollment and within 30 days of request. Failure to submit all requested documentation will result in a forfeiture of your eligibility. If necessary, we will correct FAFSA data on your behalf. We will notify you of any changes to your financial aid award as they occur.

Financial aid awards may be made prior to verifying coursework is applicable to your program/degree. Changes may occur upon review of coursework applicability (DAC).

If you borrow under the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program while at SUNY Oneonta, you must complete a Federal Direct Stafford Loan Exit Counseling Interview prior to leaving the college.

  • You must be matriculated (accepted into a degree program).
  • The coursework necessary for your degree program defines enrollment for financial aid purposes.
  • Enrollment in a program of study abroad approved for credit by SUNY Oneonta may be considered enrollment at the home institution for purposes of applying for federal student financial aid if the credit is DAC and or if the study abroad is required by your primary major.
  • You must continue to attend classes regularly.
  • Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
  • Students must not exceed 150% of their program requirements. See SAP.
  • You must report additional awards or scholarships not appearing on the award letter to the Financial Aid Office.
  • The college may be required to adjust your financial aid awards.
  • You must promptly inform the Registrar’s Office if you intend to withdraw from classes or stop attending.
  • You must reapply each year for aid, and eligibility will vary from year to year based on family information and/or changes in legislation.

Note: Financial aid awards are contingent upon the college receiving adequate federal funds to support these programs. In the event of any changes, you will be notified. State and federal budget discussions may lead to changes in funding levels, cost increases or regulatory changes.

For additional technical information you can find a complete compilation of Federal Aid Regulations on line. Search "Federal Student Aid Handbook" in your favorite search engine. These regulations govern our administration of Federal Aid Programs and are primarily intended for financial aid professionals, but may assist you in understanding the administration of Federal Aid Programs. Your financial aid counselor will gladly provide additional guidance and institutional policies.
SUNY Oneonta completely subscribes to all federal and state civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination at institutions of higher education. SUNY Oneonta aspires to provide an environment of inclusion for all its employees and students. It is the policy of our college to provide equal employment and educational opportunities for all qualified people. The college shall not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment or admission to the college because of race, color, gender, religion, age, pregnancy, national origin (including ancestry), disability, being a disabled veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity, marital status or any other protected category.