Conditions of Awards

The Office of Financial Aid strives to keep students informed of their financial aid status and how to ensure a smooth financial aid process. Please read the following sections to educate yourself on how you can accept or decline financial aid, which enrollment choices are available and which terms and conditions exist for continued financial aid eligibility.

Acceptance of Financial Aid

Financial aid operates under an active acceptance process for all students. In an active acceptance process, we require that you actively accept, decline or reduce all federal direct stafford student loans listed on your award notification. Federal Direct Stafford Loans are automatically awarded at the maximum amount allowed for the scheduled academic year, based on grade level. If you want your student loans reduced you may do this directly on Banner Self-Service by only accepting the amount that you wish to borrow.  The total amount that you accept will be evenly divided among the terms in which you attend for the award year.  If you wish to borrow uneven amounts per term in the award year please contact the Office of Financial Aid after accepting your loans to notify us at of exactly how much per term in which type of loan you wish to borrow. If you have received a refund and wish to reduce your loan, you must contact the Student Accounts Office or call 800-847-3000 for instruction. After this 30-day time frame, you must return any portion of the loan that you do not want as a loan prepayment to the Department of Education's direct-loan-servicing center. 

Aid is activated only if and when the student enrolls. Students should view their account summary approximately 24-48 hours after registration to make sure that the aid is pending to their account. Students must have declared in eligible area of study within their degree program in order to qualify for awarded aid.  Please also note that for the summer term, the aid may take up to five business days to properly pend to the account, as the attendance pattern first must be updated by the financial aid office. If you view your account summary and the anticipated aid is not pending, please contact the Office of Financial Aid after 48 hours, as it may be due to lack of completion of a necessary form or process, or an academic progress issue.

If you have both TAP and APTS, the award that is activated will be based upon your full-time or less than full-time enrollment and you do not need to contact financial aid to activate the award. Federal Pell grants, federal supplemental educational opportunity grants (FSEOG), teacher education assistance for college and higher education grants (TEACH) and non-Stafford student loans are awarded initially based on anticipated full-time enrollment. Financial aid awards are reviewed and updated after you enroll and your funds are requested from the federal government, or lender-based upon your correct enrollment status. Please note that in order to receive SUSTA for a term, you also must receive and qualify for a TAP award for the same term. You do not need to contact financial aid unless you wish to receive a revised online award notice prior to your enrollment. If you wish to decrease the amount of an award, you will need to contact Reinstatement of campus-based federal aid (FWS or SEOG), Empire State College Foundation scholarships and APTS will depend on availability of funding.  SEOG and FWS are awarded based on current funding levels.  Awards are subject to change should the funding levels decrease.

Academic Calendar

The academic calendar allows you to enroll for three academic terms: summer, fall and spring. Financial aid regulations allow you to receive financial aid in three financial aid terms. Therefore, the financial aid year is divided into three enrollment periods (summer, fall and spring).  However, your initial financial aid estimate is based on a full-time, 15-week fall term and a full-time, 15-week spring term. Please note that the Office of Financial Aid will update your file if you enroll for the summer term as well. This generally takes up to five business days to be reflected on the account. Your financial aid will be recalculated based upon the new attendance pattern and you will receive an email from the Office of Financial Aid if your eligibility changes.

The number of credits that a student is enrolled in for in a particular term in conjunction with the number of weeks in the student's financial aid award year are critical in determining eligibility for financial aid, enrollment status, federal Pell grant-eligibility calculations, federal loan eligibility, federal disbursement regulations, return of Title IV funds for withdrawn students, etc. In most instances, a change in credits and/or number of weeks of study in a financial aid term and/or weeks in a student's financial aid award year will have financial aid implications.  Students should review and understand the implications of enrolling in courses shorter than 15 weeks.

Anticipated Refund Dates

Students can expect their refund within approximately six weeks from the start of the term. Student accounts offers a specific date range for approximate refund dates.

Eligibility Requirements

All financial aid awarded for a year is paid in installments by billing term. You must be registered as a matriculated student to receive state and federal aid.  Students also must declare their area of study in order to qualify for aid awarded. Students enrolled in a certificate program are not eligible for financial aid unless concurrently enrolled as a matriculated student working toward a degree. Each year you must reapply for financial aid. Applications are available via our website each winter for the following academic year. The summer term always begins a new financial aid year. No payment is requested until your matriculated enrollment is entered in our computer system. Financial aid may not exceed your financial aid need for a given year. The federal processor determines your financial aid need based upon the answers that you supplied on the FAFSA.

In order to receive federal and state financial aid, you must maintain good academic standing. Please note that missing outcomes and incompletes may prevent you from maintaining good academic standing and outcome deadlines for the previous term must be met in order for continued eligibility.

If you are transferring mid-year to the university after receiving federal grants or loans for the same financial aid year, your financial aid eligibility at Empire State University may be reduced, since federal regulations stipulate students' annual maximum award amounts. If you received federal grants or loans at another college or university during the same financial aid year, please state in your email the name of the school that you attended and the type of federal aid that you received. Please note that failure to notify our office may result in a decrease of financial aid once the term has begun.

Students cannot receive financial aid for credits not included in the degree program. A student will not be eligible for aid for pre-college-level work. Likewise, a student who repeats a study that was also completed successfully previously is only eligible to receive aid for one repetition. It is your responsibility to notify the financial aid office in this circumstance, as otherwise you may be left with a balance owed upon graduation clearance.

Additional Financial Aid Disclosures

You must meet the federal, state, third-party and institutional requirements to receive financial aid funds. Financial aid awards may be cancelled if you are not in good academic standing, are in default on a student loan, owe a federal or state aid grant, fail to submit a master promissory note for Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan (MPN), or if funds become unavailable.

You may view your current awards online at My.SUNYEmpire (login required) by clicking on the Financial Aid box under "Manage My Account". Please note that whenever you receive additional assistance, your financial aid may be adjusted or reduced, even if your financial aid already has been disbursed to you. In the event that the additional award exceeds your financial need, overawarded federal financial assistance must be reduced or returned in accordance with federal regulations, giving priority to student loans before campus-based aid reduction. Any scholarships, grants or loans paid directly to you by an external donor or agency, not to student accounts, are not credited as anticipated aid on your account. You may use this money for any education-related expense. However, outside scholarships, grants or loans may change your financial aid eligibility. You are required to report in writing to the Office of Financial Aid, grants or loans not listed on MySUNYEmpire. Your aid, including student loans, may be reduced by the amount of additional aid received to prevent an overaward of total financial aid resources.

Students living in housing located on a military base or housing for which they receive a military housing allowance (Basic Allowance for Housing, or “BAH”), should notify the Office of Financial Aid if also receiving federal financial aid.  In accordance with regulations, the room and board COA component will be adjusted so that it shall include an allowance for board only. This applies to: independent students who receive, or whose spouses receive, a military housing allowance (BAH) or who live on a military base; and dependent students who are living with parents who are receiving a military housing allowance (BAH) or who live on a military base.

The awarding of federal supplemental educational opportunity grants (SEOG) generally will be limited to a student’s tuition and fees. The SEOG may be subsequently reduced if a student’s total term amount of grant aid exceeds tuition and university fees. The SEOG may be awarded with a term maximum of $1,000 and an annual maximum of $2,000.

Students must be enrolled at least half-time at the time of loan disbursement in order to be eligible for federal direct loans. Half-time is considered 6 or more credits for undergraduate students and 5 or more credits for graduate students.  

For continued eligibility for the TEACH grant, you must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25.

FWS can be applied only to employment for the period July 1 through June 30. You must be enrolled half time while you are earning federal work-study funds.

If awarded aid for part-time study (APTS), you must enroll for at least 3 credits, but less than 12 credits per term. Under funding restrictions, if you enroll for less than 6 credits, your APTS award may be reduced. The APTS grant may be subsequently reduced if a student’s total term amount of grant aid exceeds tuition and university fees. APTS may be awarded with a term maximum of $1,000 and an annual maximum of $2,000. The APTS awards are limited to the actual tuition owed by the student and not paid by a third-party source.

Tuition assistance program (TAP) awards approved for full-time students by the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) will be listed on the Empire State University financial aid award notification. The amount of your actual TAP award may differ from the amount shown if your award is subsequently adjusted by the HESC. Please note that summer TAP eligibility has additional requirements.

For New York state aid eligibility, you must meet the New York State Department of Education requirements of having a U.S. high school diploma or GED, or the equivelent.

If you are awarded State University Student Tuition Assistance (SUSTA), you also must receive and qualify for a TAP award and be full-time for the same term.

Students will have to electronically sign a Master Promissory Note for Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan (MPN) with the Department of Education to be eligible for loans under the federal direct-lending program. Students should use the same FSA ID they used to complete the FAFSA. The MPN must be complete in order for the loan to pend over to your account summary. If you do not complete the online MPN, you will not receive your loan funds and you may owe a balance to the university. If you already have borrowed a federal direct loan at another institution within the past 10 years, you do not need to complete a new MPN unless it is expired.

You must be enrolled at least half time to be eligible for federal direct loans. For students enrolling in terms of less than 15 weeks, the cost of education is calculated for living costs that are prorated by the number of weeks you are enrolled, as well as tuition/fees, books and supplies. This affects the amount of federal direct loans and FSEOG that you are eligible to receive. Students enrolled for eight weeks are likely to be eligible for less than students enrolled for 15 weeks, since the cost of attendance will be less.  Students who are no longer enrolled or enrolled less than half-time will not qualify for student loans for that term. 

Students should be aware that portions of scholarships, grants, assistantships, etc. in excess of tuition, fees, books and supplies may be considered taxable income by the Internal Revenue Services. Please contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 if you have any questions regarding the impact of financial aid on your tax liability.

Loan Proration for Graduating Borrowers (undergraduate students only)

You should contact the Office of Financial Aid when you register for your final term. Your federal direct loan eligibility may be prorated in your final term based on the number of credits for which you are enrolled. This means that you may not be eligible to receive your maximum annual loan limit. Loan proration applies only to undergraduate students; it does not apply to graduate or professional students. 

Deferring Previous Student Loans

Students who wish to defer their student loan payments while they are enrolled at Empire State University need to complete an in-school deferment request form and submit the completed form to the Office of the Registrar. You can request that the form be sent to your lender by calling 800-847-3000.

Questions About Conditions of Awards

Why does my award information indicate loans but no "financial aid"?

Federal financial aid is made up of loans, grants and work subsidy programs. Federal grant money is reserved for the most needy students. Loans offered to undergraduate students and parents are subsidized in part by the federal government, making them more attractive than commercial loans. Students also have the ability to defer repayment until after they leave school.

Why did my NYS TAP award change?

TAP awards are determined by New York State Higher Education (HESC) after the NYS budget is passed and the TAP funding is approved.  The Office of Financial Aid estimates the TAP award that you are expected to receive, although this award may change if HESC determines that you are eligible for a different amount or if funds become unavailable at any point.  Students receive a separate notification of their TAP eligibility directly from the NYS Higher Education Services Corporation.

Can I change my mind and have aid that I had previously declined or reduced reinstated?

Students who wish to change the amount of an award they accepted or accept an award they declined previously will need to contact to request that an award(s) be reinstated. Reinstatement of student aid will depend on availability of funding and federal and state regulations. Please note that students always have the option of contacting 1STOP Student Services by phone at 800-847-3000 but requests for changes to aid must be in writing to the Financial Aid Office.

I have been awarded Federal Work Study but have decided that I would not like to accept it, or I've accepted Federal Work Study but would now like to decrease my award. Whom should I notify?

You should email and list your complete name, student ID and that you wish to decline/decrease your Federal Work Study award. If you choose to decrease the amount of Federal Work Study previously awarded, you must notify the Office of Financial Aid in writing. If receiving loans for the same academic year, Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans will not be reviewed for potential increase, unless this is requested by the student.

What is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans?

A subsidized loan is awarded on the basis of federally calculated financial need. The government pays the interest on the loan during the time that you are enrolled in school and during the six-month grace period. Please note that subsidized loans only will be available to undergraduate students.

An unsubsidized loan cannot exceed the cost of attendance less financial aid. The government does not pay the interest for the student.

Otherwise, both loans have the same terms and conditions.

My financial aid refund will not be issued until after the start of my studies. How can I buy books?

If you are eligible to receive a refund, you may use this credit/voucher to order and pay for books available at the Empire State University bookstore. Please note that you will not be able to use any financial aid towards your book charges if you did not answer "yes" to the Indirect Charge authorization on Banner Self-Service. If you answered no and would like to change your answer to yes, please contact

Am I eligible to use federal and state financial aid for courses that are not part of my degree program?

Students must be matriculated in a degree program in order to qualify for aid. The courses you enroll in must be applicable to your degree program in order to qualify for federal and state financial aid. Applicable courses are courses that apply to, or are an integral part of, the student's program of study. To count in the determination of the student's minimum full-time or part-time course loan, a course must apply to the student's program as a general education requirement, a major requirement, or an elective (whether restricted or free elective). Students who are enrolled in both a degree program and a certificate program must have the certificate program courses counted as part of the degree program in order for these courses to be eligible for financial aid. 

The New York State Veteran's Tuition Award (NYVTA) is the only exception. Students receiving NYVTA may receive this award if matriculated in a certificate program.

If I withdraw, do I have to pay back financial aid?

In accordance with rules established by the U.S. Department of Education, schools must adhere to new provisions regarding the treatment of federal Title IV financial aid for students who withdraw from school completely for any term. These rules govern all federal loan and grant programs, including federal direct loans, PLUS loans, Pell and TEACH grants. Please note that withdrawing from any courses in a term can affect your current financial aid, as well as future financial aid eligibility. See withdrawal information for more details if you are considering withdrawing, or have withdrawn from any courses.