Conditions of Awards
The financial aid office 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
- Understanding Your Financial Aid Awards 2014-2015 (PDF 68kB)
- * 2015-2016 Understanding Your Financial Aid Awards will be released once the federal government announces the new origination fees and interest rates. Until then, please refer to the 2014-2015 guide above.
- academic calendar and its impact on how aid is awarded
- eligibility requirements
- additional financial aid disclosures
- loan proration for graduating borrowers (undergraduate students only)
- deferring previous student loans
- frequently asked questions about conditions of awards
Financial aid operates under a passive confirmation process for all students. In a passive confirmation process, we assume that you accept all award offers listed on your award notification. Federal Direct Stafford Loans are automatically awarded at the maximum amount allowed, based on the student's grade level. If you want part of your student loans reduced and the funds have not been disbursed, you need to email email@example.com or call 800-847-3000. If you want your student loans reduced, you should state in the email your complete name, student ID and the amount of loan that you wish to accept. Students have 30 days from the time we disburse the loan to reduce their loan with the student accounts office. 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. All students should view their student account statement upon registration to make sure that the aid is pending to their account. Please note that for the November and March terms, the aid may take up to three 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 student account statement and the anticipated aid is not pending, please contact the financial aid office, 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 (FPELL), 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Reinstatement of campus-based federal aid (FWS, federal Perkins loan or FSEOG), Empire State College Foundation scholarships and APTS will depend on availability of funding.
The academic calendar allows you to enroll five times for six academic terms: Fall 1 and Fall 2, Spring 1 and Spring 2 and Summer 1 and Summer 2. 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).
Your initial financial aid estimate is based on a full-time, 15-week fall term with a September start and a full-time, 15-week spring term with a January start. Please note that the financial aid office will update your file automatically if you enroll with a different start date (May, November or March). This generally takes up to three 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 financial aid office if your eligibility changes. If you register or plan to register in a term option not listed below, please contact a financial aid advisor at email@example.com or 800-847-3000.
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.
Therefore, we recommend that if you are using financial aid (including student loans), you follow certain enrollment patterns (consistent with both state and federal aid regulations) in order to maximize your financial aid. You may, of course, follow a unique enrollment pattern not displayed below, but it is likely that any alternative enrollment pattern will result in a reduction of your financial aid award.
Recommended Enrollment Date Patterns for Fall and Spring 2015-2016
|Fall 1 and Spring 1||Fall 1: 9/14/15-12/23/15||Spring 1: 1/19/16-4/29/16|
|Fall 1 and Spring 2||Fall 1: 9/14/15-12/23/15||Spring 2: 1/19/16-4/29/16|
|Fall 2 and Spring 2||Fall 2: 11/02/15-2/26/16||Spring 2: 3/14/16-6/30/16|
Recommended Enrollment Date Patterns for Fall and Spring 2014-2015
|Standard pattern: Sept. 1||September: 9/08/14-12/19/14||January: 1/20/15-5/01/15|
|Standard pattern: Sept. 2||September: 9/08/14-12/19/14||March: 3/09/15-6/26/15|
|Standard pattern: November||November: 10/27/14-2/20/15||March: 3/09/15-6/26/15|
Financial aid can be used only in the first academic term if you choose to register separately in two academic terms within the same financial-aid term. For example, if you register separately for the Fall 1 and Fall 2 terms, you will receive aid only for the Fall 1 term, since these both fall into the same financial aid term.
If you will not be following the above-recommended enrollment patterns, or if you will be enrolling for the summer terms, contact an Empire State College financial aid advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Empire State College student information center at 800-847-3000. Financial aid cannot be received for a term when the begin date of the term is before the end of the previous term.
Anticipated Refund Dates
Students can expect their refund within six weeks from the start of the term. Student accounts offers a specific date range for approximate refund dates.
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 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 January for the upcoming 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. Students who enroll in an attendance pattern not recommended by the financial aid office listed previously may have their aid adjusted.
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 college after receiving federal grants or loans for the same financial aid year, your financial aid eligibility at Empire State College may be reduced, since federal regulations stipulate students' annual maximum award amounts. If you received federal grants or loans at another college 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.
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, or if funds become unavailable.
You may view your current awards online at MyESC (login required). 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 financial aid office, grants or loans not listed on MyESC. Your aid, including student loans, may be reduced by the amount of additional aid received to prevent an overaward of total financial aid resources.
The awarding of federal supplemental educational opportunity grants (FSEOG) generally will be limited to a student’s tuition and fees. The FSEOG may be subsequently reduced if a student’s total term amount of grant aid exceeds tuition and college fees. The FSEOG may be awarded with a term maximum of $1,000 and an annual maximum of $2,000.
If you enroll for less than half time, your Pell grant will be reduced and any FSEOG, FWS or federal Perkins loan may be reduced or cancelled. Students must also be at least half time 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 college 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 College financial-aid summary. 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, GED or completion of an associate degree.
If you are awarded State University Student Tuition Assistance (SUSTA), you also must receive and qualify for a TAP award for the same term.
Students will have to sign a master promissory note (MPN) with the Department of Education to be eligible for loans under the federal direct-lending program. The electronic MPN (e-MPN) is available at www.studentloans.gov. Students should use the same PIN they used to complete the FAFSA. The MPN must be complete in order for the loan to pend over to your student account statement. If you do not complete the online MPN, you will not receive your loan funds and you may owe a balance to the college. 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.
You must enroll 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, FSEOG and Perkins loans 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 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.
Students receiving veterans' benefits, Americorps, vocational rehabilitation and Bureau of Indian Affairs funds should review the attached guidelines regarding how their aid will be packaged.
You should contact the financial aid office 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.
Students who wish to defer their student loan payments while they are enrolled at Empire State College 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.
- Why does my award information indicate loans but no "financial aid"?
- How do I reduce the amount of my loan or decline financial aid grants?
- Why is my NYS TAP award not listed on my online awards?
- Can I change my mind and have aid that I had previously declined or reduced reinstated?
- 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?
- What is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans?
- My financial aid refund will not be issued until after the start of my studies. How can I buy books?
- Am I eligible to use federal and state financial aid for courses that are not part of my degree program?
- If I withdraw, do I have to pay back 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.
For student loans, send an email to email@example.com that indicates your complete name, student ID and the amount of loan that you wish to borrow for the financial aid year. Financial aid should receive requests for loan reductions before you enroll or shortly thereafter, before the loans are received by the student accounts office. After you enroll, you will receive all the loan funds and may return any portion of the loan you do not want up to 30 days post disbursement.
For other types of aid, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate your complete name, student ID and the type and term of the aid that you wish to decline. Please note that students always have the option of contacting financial aid by phone at 800-847-3000, or by at fax 518-581-2782, to reduce student loans or decline other financial aid.
TAP awards are not determined until the NYS budget is passed and the TAP funding approved. Students receive a separate notification of their TAP eligibility directly from the NYS Higher Education Services Corporation. Student accounts will receive an electronic file containing your TAP information and post the information to MyESC.
Students who wish to change the amount of an award they accepted or accept an award they declined previously will need to contact email@example.com 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 financial aid by phone at 800-847-3000, or fax at 518-581-2782, to have student loans and other financial aid reinstated.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 financial aid office 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.
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 college 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.
Effective July 1, 2013, subsidized loan eligibility for new borrowers is limited to the equivalent of six years for students in a bachelor’s program and the equivalent of three years for students in an associate program.
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 to order and pay for books available at the Empire State College bookstore by completing the Empire State College bookstore financial aid promissory note, which is on the back of the course materials order form in the MyESC Forms Center.
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.
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, Perkins loans and 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.