Financial Aid

The purpose of financial aid is to provide assistance to matriculated students whose financial resources are inadequate to meet the costs of their education. Financial aid is intended to supplement, not replace, a family’s resources. A family’s resources include the student’s resources; spouse’s resources, if married at the time of application; and parents’ resources, if the student is a dependent. For that reason, most families should think of themselves as the first – and probably primary – source of funds for college. Annual family taxable and nontaxable income is not the only factor that is considered in evaluating eligibility for financial aid. A family’s assets also are considered, since a family with assets (such as a savings account or investments) is considered to be in a stronger financial position than a family with the same income, but no assets.

Financial aid programs vary widely as to their precise qualifications, but awards are generally determined on the basis of the eligibility criteria of the specific aid program, and without regard to sex, age, race and ethnicity, color, religion, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, military status or marital status, although special opportunities for underrepresented student populations do exist. With the exceptions noted, the major financial aid programs are open to part-time as well as to full-time students.

Most programs are open to United States citizens, nationals and permanent residents who have declared their intent to become United States citizens. Persons holding temporary student, exchange visitor or visitor visas are not eligible.

A student’s eligibility cannot be determined until he or she provides full information about financial need by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). All financial aid applications, as well as detailed descriptions of financial aid, are available on the Financial Aid office web site. You are advised to apply for all assistance programs for which you may be eligible at least six weeks before your expected date of enrollment. All financial aid programs must be applied for annually after the first of the year.

There are three types of aid available at SUNY Empire State College:

  1. Grants/scholarships – money that does not need to be repaid;
  2. Loans – money that students borrow which must be repaid with interest;
  3. Work study – student employment.

Priority Deadlines

The priority deadline dates for applying for financial aid is six weeks prior to the start date of the term. However, for students applying for Institutional scholarships the FAFSA priority deadline is April 1. Likewise, due to limited funding for Federal SEOG and APTS the priority deadline is April 1. Any applications received after April 1 will be considered until all funds are exhausted.

Financial aid files completed after the financial aid priority deadline date will be reviewed. However, the Financial Aid office cannot guarantee that financial aid will be processed in time for the student to register with a financial aid deferral. A federal financial aid file is complete when the college has received valid FAFSA data from the federal processor and all other documentation requested by the Financial Aid office. Completed files and APTS applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Summer Aid

Students may be eligible to receive financial aid for the summer term if all eligibility requirements are met. Financial aid packages are initially awarded for the Fall and Spring terms. Students enrolling in a summer term will have their award package updated to include summer within 5-7 business days of completing their summer registration. Accepting financial aid awards for the summer term may affect the amount of aid available for the following Fall and Spring terms. Students enrolling for summer should contact the SUNY Empire State College Financial Aid office by email at or call the SUNY Empire State College Student Information Center at 800-847-3000, ext. 2285 to review their eligibility for summer aid.