Policies and Procedures
SUNY Oneonta attempts to provide funding for as many students as funding levels permit. Consequently, awards are made according to financial need regardless of class year, major, or other distinctive features. New students must be accepted as a matriculated student and provided official FAFSA data before they will be considered for financial aid. A step-by-step application process can be found at www.oneonta.edu/development/finaid/process.asp.
To be considered for financial aid, students must annually file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the processing agency at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa. Students must list SUNY Oneonta with the appropriate code (002847) on the FAFSA to have the processing agency release the data to the college. To be considered for many institutional scholarships the processed FAFSA must be received no later than January 5th of the award year. Other Financial Aid Awards are made on a first come, first served basis.
In developing the financial aid package, the College will first consider all resources the student has or can be reasonably expected to have. These resources include, but are not limited to, parental contribution, student employment contribution, student asset contributions, private scholarships, assistantships, Federal PELL Grants, State grants, and scholarships.
Once an award has been determined, the College will send an eAward notice to each financial aid recipient. If a student has questions, please ask the financial aid counselor indicated on the eAward notice.
The College reserves the right to revise awards if the student receives subsequent additional resources. A revised eAward notice supersedes all previous notices.
Student’s Rights and Responsibilities
- It is the responsibility of each prospective aid applicant to become familiar with the policies, procedures, and deadlines for financial aid.
- It is the right of each student to request and receive an explanation of how his or her financial aid award was determined.
- It is the responsibility of each aid recipient to notify the Financial Aid Office of any additional awards received that were not included in the original financial aid package and any other change in status.
- It is the right of the student to review his/her financial aid folder. Students do not, however, have access to parents’ financial information except with written permission.
- It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Registrar’s Office of an address change.
- It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the College receives all required forms on time.
Degree Applicable Credit for New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), and Federal Title IV Programs
The rules and regulations, for federal aid programs (Pell, Student Loans, etc.) and New York State aid programs (TAP) are substantially similar and generally aligned, establishing 12 credits as the minimum credits required for “full-time” enrollment status.
“Credit-bearing courses in the student’s minimum full-time course load (12 semester hours or the equivalent) must consist of courses applicable to the student’s program of study as a general education requirement, major requirement, or elective. The only exception is in the student’s final term of study: if the student needs fewer than 12 credits to complete the program, other courses may be included to determine full-time status even if not required to complete graduation requirements.” (NYS TAP Rules)
“For undergraduates, full-time status must be at least: 12 semester hours or 12 quarter hours per academic term in an educational program using a semester, trimester, or quarter system;” “If a student is enrolled in courses that do not count toward his degree, certificate, or other recognized credential, they cannot be used to determine enrollment status unless they are eligible remedial courses. This means the College cannot award the student aid for classes that do not count toward his degree, certificate, or other recognized credential.” (Federal Student Aid Rules)
Likewise, SUNY Oneonta’s Scholarship Policy is generally aligned with the federal and state rules/regulations;
“Unless specifically noted in the individual scholarship description, recipients must be matriculated in a degree program and registered full time (12 credits); or negotiate a valid consortium agreement; or serve in a full-time internship; or be enrolled full time in a study abroad program.”
For most students, this general alignment functions appropriately and various sources of aid are consistently available - as expected - throughout their academic career. However, in certain situations or combinations of circumstances, slight differences in the rules as well as more significant differences in guidance (or exceptions to the rules) issued by each respective federal or state agency make consistent application of the full set of relevant rules applicable to a given student’s situation challenging. Additionally, the complexity of these differences make easy answers/guidelines that can be applied in broad strokes to categories of students very difficult, impossible without a certain amount of training.
Program of Study
This concept is similar, but applied differently for federal and state aid programs:
- Both federal and state rules require that a student be enrolled in an “eligible” or “approved” program of study. While the rules are slightly different, generally programs approved by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) are the same programs that are eligible for federal aid.
- For federal aid programs, a student’s program of study may include multiple majors or multiple degrees.
- For NYS aid programs, a student’s program of study may include only one major/degree – the student’s “primary” major/degree program.
- Minors and non-required concentrations are not recognized by either NYS or federal rules as part of a student’s program of study although coursework included in a minor or non-required concentration is permissible as long as it satisfies a graduation requirement (usually a general education or elective requirement) in a student’s program of study. See also “Required Coursework”.
This concept is similar, but applied differently for federal and state aid programs:
- Both federal and state rules indicate that ONLY courses that are applicable toward the student’s degree/program of study can be used to determine a student’s enrollment status. The enrollment status which is then used to determine a student’s eligibility for aid according to the individual aid program’s rules. See also “Full-Time Status”
- For both federal and state aid programs, required coursework consists only of courses that satisfy a student’s general education requirements, major requirements and related coursework, or elective requirements.
NOTE: “elective requirements” are courses other than general education and major requirements which are required for graduation. Elective courses which are not applicable to a student’s program of study are not required coursework and cannot be counted in a student’s enrollment status. For undeclared students, required coursework generally consists of all non-repeat courses that satisfy a graduation requirement.
- For NYS aid programs, required coursework consists of courses in only one NYSED approved program of study - the student’s primary major/degree.
- For federal aid programs, required coursework consists of courses required for any of the student’s approved majors/degree programs.
Enrollment Status (i.e. definition and calculation of full-time status)
This concept is generally the same for federal and state aid programs – 12 credits minimum for an undergraduate student. However, coursework that may be counted in a student’s enrollment status may differ between federal and state aid programs. See “Required Coursework”.
- NYS aid programs generally require full-time enrollment to be eligible.
- Federal aid programs have varying required enrollment statuses.
EXAMPLE: In order to receive a maximum Pell grant, students must be enrolled full-time but Pell can be pro-rated at three-quarter time (9-11 credits), half-time (6-8 credits), and less-than half-time (1-5 credits). Federal Loan programs require at least half-time enrollment.
- For NYS aid programs, only courses applicable to a student’s primary major/degree can be included in the enrollment status calculation.
- For federal aid programs, courses applicable to any of the student’s approved majors/degrees can be included in the enrollment status calculation.
- For NYS aid programs, a repeat of a previously passed course cannot be included in the enrollment status calculation unless the student has received a grade that is considered passing by the college, but unacceptable in a particular curriculum.
- For federal aid programs, a repeat of a previously passed course can be included one time in the enrollment status calculation.
- Credits required only for minors or concentrations that are not required within a program of study cannot be included in either the federal or state enrollment status calculation.
With careful planning, many students can complete a second major, minors or concentrations. Students who bring college credit earned while in high school may be expected to complete their degree in less than 8 semesters according to the rules of financial aid eligibility.
When a student changes a major, it may affect the student’s financial aid eligibility. Therefore, students contemplating changing their majors should seek advice from their financial aid counselors.
It is also recommended that students meet periodically with their financial aid counselors to review their academic plans and the effect on financial aid eligibility. Additional information about these requirements is available on our website. Ultimately, it is the student’s responsibility to be aware of the regulations affecting financial aid eligibility, and it is the Financial Aid Office’s responsibility to apply the rules that determine aid eligibility.
New York State Financial Aid Programs
Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) Grant: The New York State Tuition Assistance Program provides awards to eligible, full-time, undergraduate students. Awards are for New York State residents and are based on applicant/family New York State net taxable income. Eligible applicants must:
- study full time (12 credits applicable to degree program per semester),
- provide proof of high school diploma or equivalent, as defined by NYSHESC
- be a New York State resident,
- be either a U.S. citizen, or eligible noncitizen,
- be charged tuition of $200 or more per year,
- be matriculated in an approved program of study in New York State,
- maintain good academic standing,
- not be in default on a student loan guaranteed by NYSHESC and not be in default on any repayment of State awards,
- and declare a major by the time 56 s.h. are earned.
Students must apply annually for this grant. Students first complete the FAFSA and then a TAP on the web application. Applications must be completed by the student and parents and submitted to www.hesc.ny.gov no later than May 1 of the academic year for which the award is intended. NYSHESC calculates the award and sends the student an award certificate.
Award amounts may change for any given academic year due to legislative action. Undergraduate students may receive TAP for up to 4 years (8 semesters) of undergraduate study; 5 years if enrolled in an approved 5-year program. The total limit is 4 years (8 semesters) of combined undergraduate awards.
NYSHESC also offers other awards, including but not limited to: Excelsior Scholarship, Award for Child of Veteran, Vietnam Veteran Tuition Awards, World Trade Center Memorial Scholarship, NYS aid to Native Americans and Memorial Scholarships for Families of Deceased Police Officers and Firefighters. Complete listing of award and current instructions can be found at www.hesc.ny.gov.
For any state scholarships, students may contact NYSHESC, 99 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12255, call 1-888-NYSHESC, or visit www.hesc.ny.gov.
Aid for Part-Time Study (APTS): This program provides awards for New York State residents studying part-time in an undergraduate program at participating degree granting schools in New York State. Part-time study is defined as at least 3 but less than 12 semester hours per semester. Recipients apply to and are selected by the participating institution, usually the Financial Aid Office. Award amounts may range from $100 to $2,000 per year. Students must apply annually with the APTS application, which is available at the Financial Aid Office. A student must meet certain criteria to be eligible. Refer to www.hesc.ny.gov for current criteria or contact a SUNY Oneonta Financial Aid Advisor.
Federal Financial Aid Programs
Federal PELL Grant Program: Students may receive a Federal PELL Grant payment for up to 12 semesters. To be eligible, a student must be a citizen or a permanent resident of the United States matriculated in a degree program taking at least 6 credits per semester. Also, a student cannot be in default on a previously borrowed educational loan or owe a refund on a previous grant.
Students use the FAFSA to apply at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa. The application should be submitted no later than May 1 during the academic year for which aid is sought.
In cases where significant family financial changes occur because of disability; total unemployment, separation/divorce, or death of the major wage earner, a Special Circumstances calculation may be used to reflect these changes. Students whose families experience these changes should contact the Financial Aid Office for assistance.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG): SEOG provides financial assistance to students who would not be able to attend the College without the benefit of this grant. Eligible students must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States enrolled in an undergraduate degree program for their first bachelor’s degree and be taking at least 6 credits.
Through use of the FAFSA and other supporting documents, the College selects the recipients of Federal Supplemental Grants. The awards range from $100 to $4,000 per year, not to exceed one-half of the cost of education. A student may not receive over $8,000 for four undergraduate years. Students may receive Supplemental Grants (not exceeding $10,000 total) for five years if they are enrolled in a designated five year program or a program of remediation.
Federal Work Study Program: SUNY Oneonta participates in this Federally sponsored work program and identifies eligible students through the use of the FAFSA and other supporting documents. Eligible students must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States and enrolled at least half-time in a degree program. Students may be employed on or off campus and are paid every two weeks.
Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan: Federal Loans are fixed interest loans the student borrows in his/her name. Students may apply for a Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan by submitting a FAFSA. The results of the need analysis form must be on file in the Financial Aid Office. First time borrowers will be emailed instructions on how to complete an Entrance Counseling session online and an electronic Master Promissory Note (MPN). When the loan is approved, the student will receive a notice of approval.
Eligible applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. admitted to or enrolled at least half-time as a matriculated student. Students who demonstrate financial need may have part of the Federal Loan awarded as subsidized, meaning no interest accrues on the subsidized portion of the loan during the in-school period. Students may borrow up to $5,500 per year as freshmen ($3,500 of which may be subsidized if need is determined), $6,500 as sophomores ($4,500 of which may be subsidized), and $7,500 each for the junior and senior years ($5,500 of which may be subsidized). In no case may a student borrow more than $31,000 as a dependent student ($57,500 as an independent student) for undergraduate study or $138,500 for all years of study (both graduate and undergraduate).
All of the same provisions of the Subsidized Loan apply to the Unsubsidized Loan except the borrower accepts responsibility for the interest payment or deferment while attending college.
Federal Direct PLUS Loans: Graduate students or parents of undergraduate students may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid to be repaid beginning 60 days after receipt of funds. At the borrower’s choosing, a deferral of repayment may be requested from the Federal Direct Loan Program.
Financial Aid to Native Americans: Eligible applicants must be one quarter American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut; enrolled as a member of a tribe, band, or group recognized by the Bureau of Indian Education; enrolled in or accepted for enrollment in an approved four year degree program; and have financial need. Students must apply to the Bureau of Indian Affairs each year, submit a tribal enrollment certification, and file the FAFSA. Additional information may be found at: www.bie.edu.
Federal TEACH Grant Program: TEACH is a grant with a teaching service obligation that provides up to $4000 per academic year for full time study to students in education majors. In exchange for the grant, the student must agree to obtain employment and serve as a full time teacher in a high need field (currently defined as Bilingual education and English language acquisition, Foreign language, Mathematics, Reading specialist, Science, Special education) in a school serving low income students for at least four academic years within eight years of completing the program of study. If the student does not satisfy the service obligation, the amounts of the TEACH Grants received are treated as a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and must be repaid with interest. SUNY Oneonta has defined the Oneonta majors eligible to participate in this program on our website.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for New York State Financial Aid
For comprehensive up to date eligibility for New York State Student Aid Programs visit www.hesc.ny.gov. The combined total of all New York State Tuition Awards cannot exceed the cost of tuition. All full-time students eligible for state-sponsored financial aid awards must comply with regulations that set standards in two areas: academic progress and program pursuit. Any student identified by the Student Progress Committee or Financial Aid Office as not maintaining satisfactory progress or standing will have their financial aid revoked until they resolve their academic difficulty.
The State Education Department (SED) regulations require students who receive State awards to complete a minimum number of semester hours (or credits) each semester as follows:
- In the first year of State awards, the student must complete a minimum of 50% of a full-time load in each term. 12 credits is a full- time load, and to remain eligible, 6 credits must be completed with grades other than Withdrawal or resignation.
- In the second year of State awards, the student must complete a minimum of 75% of a full-time load each term (9 credits of a 12 credit load).
- In the third and fourth years of State awards, the student must complete 100% of a full-time load each term. Transfer students who have received State awards for four previous semesters must complete at least 12 credits each semester at SUNY Oneonta.
Failure to complete the minimum number of hours or credits in a given term renders the student ineligible for State financial aid in the following term, or until additional hours are completed to reach the minimum level. Students not meeting SAP standards will be notified by a financial aid advisor.
State SAP Appeal and Waiver
Students who fail to complete the required number of hours, or fail to maintain the required GPA may remain eligible for financial assistance by obtaining a waiver. The SED regulations allow for only one waiver during a student’s undergraduate and graduate career. According to SED waiver guidelines, a student may ask for and receive the waiver if good reason (death in family, adverse family economic conditions, etc.) is presented for the deficiency in the student’s record and the student is expected to make minimum progress thereafter. The waiver is not given automatically and the student must consent to its use.
Academic Requirements for New York State-Funded Aid
|Before being certified for this payment
|A student must have earned this many credits
|With at least this Grade Point Average (GPA)
|With grades of A, B, C, D, or E for at least this many credits
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for Federal Student Aid
- GPA Requirement: Students must maintain a minimum Institutional GPA according to the chart below.
- Pace of Completion Requirement: Students must progress toward completion of their declared degree/certificate while maintaining the minimum accrued earned credits as shown in the chart below.
- Maximum Timeframe Requirement: Students must be able to complete their declared degree or certificate program within 150% of the published number of credit hours required to complete the program. A student becomes ineligible for federal aid when it becomes mathematically impossible to complete the program within 150% of the length of the program (important when changing majors). All transfer credit hours accepted by the college are counted as both attempted and completed credits and are included in the maximum timeframe calculation.
Please Note: If a SAP evaluation makes it clear that a student cannot mathematically complete his/her declared degree/certificate program or the student cannot raise the Institutional GPA to a 2.00 within the maximum time frame, the student’s federal student aid eligibility ceases at that point.
|Before being certified for this payment
|A student must have earned this many credits
|With at least this Grade Point Average (GPA)
INCOMPLETES AND WITHDRAWALS: GPA and pace of completion are effected by course incompletes and withdrawals. Transfer courses must count as both attempted and completed when measuring quantitative progress.
REPEATED COURSES: Federal aid programs may only be used one time for retaking previously passed coursework. The most recent/last grade earned in repeat coursework will be used in the GPA computation and only courses taken and repeated at SUNY Oneonta will count towards a student’s GPA. Each course attempted is included in the quantitative and maximum timeframe components of SAP review.
CHANGING MAJORS/PROGRAMS: Students who change declared degree/certificate programs prior to completion may do so, however all attempted credits in all degree programs are included in the maximum timeframe.
Additionally, aid eligibility ceases when you complete your degree requirements (regardless if you accept your degree/apply for graduation).
NOTIFICATIONS OF SAP ISSUES AND APPEALS
The Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress are evaluated and students are notified of any SAP standards not being met at the conclusion of each period of enrollment. Students are also notified of the option to appeal and possibly attain a federal SAP waiver.
APPEALS – REGAINING ELIGIBILITY FOR AID
Students not meeting SAP standards may appeal if there are extenuating circumstances, which led to academic difficulties. SAP appeal requests are submitted on the myOneonta portal under My Verification.
*Extenuating circumstances are those over which the student has no control and may include death in the student’s immediate family, hospitalization, accidents, or illness, etc. Additional supporting documentation may be required.
SAP Appeals must include:
- A SAP narrative from the student describing the extenuating circumstances
- Supporting documentation from the student, if any
- A copy of the student’s academic plan
SAP Appeals must be reviewed by a Financial Aid Advisor and may be referred to a committee for review.
- In order for an appeal to be approved, student must either be able to meet the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress by the end of the next period of enrollment; or the student must be placed on an Academic Plan that, if followed, will ensure that the student will be able to meet the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress by a specific point in time (beyond the next period of enrollment).
Please Note: If a review of a SAP appeal makes it clear that a student cannot mathematically complete his/her declared degree/certificate program or cannot raise their graduation GPA to the minimum 2.00 within the maximum timeframe, the appeal will be denied and the student will NOT be eligible for federal financial aid.
When considering an appeal:
- Transfer credit hours that do not fulfill graduation requirements in the student’s current program are excluded from the maximum timeframe calculation.
- Students who successfully appeal are notified by the Financial Aid Office, and are given any terms of the waiver approval.
TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
- The following are credits successfully completed for SAP purposes, including +/- letter grade of: “A”, “B”, “C”, “D”, or “P”.
- Institutional GPA includes all coursework receiving a letter grade excluding Pass/Fail letter grades. (including developmental/remedial coursework) taken while at SUNY Oneonta. The Institutional GPA also appears on the transcript. The Institutional GPA includes developmental/remedial coursework (classes with course numbers below 100), but does not include transfer coursework.
Financial Aid Return of Title IV Funds Policy
This policy applies to federal Title IV financial aid recipients. Title IV aid is awarded and disbursed to students in anticipation of students’ successful completion of their courses and progression toward graduation. The U.S. Department of Education regulates the management of these funds and in some cases, a student who receives Title IV financial aid but does not complete their coursework is not considered to have “earned” the Title IV aid they received.
When a student officially withdraws from all of their courses, audits all of their courses, receives unsatisfactory grades in all of their courses, or otherwise fails to attend the full period of enrollment, the College is required to determine the earned and unearned portions of Title IV aid the student was scheduled to receive.
The earned and unearned portions of Title IV aid are determined as of the date a student ceased attendance, based on the amount of time the student spent in attendance. Up through the 60% point in each period of enrollment, a prorated schedule is used to determine the amount of Title IV funds the student has earned at the time of withdrawal. After the 60% point in the period of enrollment, a student has earned 100% of the Title IV funds he or she was scheduled to receive during the period.
For a student who officially withdraws at any time through the 60% point of a period of enrollment, the official withdrawal date is:
- The last date the student attended class or participated in an academically related activity
For a student who fails to officially withdraw (does not complete the official withdrawal process but receives unsatisfactory grades in all their courses, either:
- For a student who unofficially withdraws due to circumstances beyond their control, the date the College determines is related to circumstance that was beyond the student’s control.
- For all other students who unofficially withdraw, the last date the student attended class or participated in an academically related activity (as reported by his/her instructors).
- If the College is unable to determine the last date of class attendance or academic activity, the 50% point of the payment period will be used as the unofficial withdrawal date and the calculation.
When a student is determined to have withdrawn, either officially or unofficially, the College will use federal law/regulation to make the following determinations and complete the following activities:
- Determine the amount of the student’s institutional charges.
- Determine the Title IV aid disbursed to the student.
- Determine the Title IV aid that could have been disbursed to the student (if any).
- Determine the student’s official withdrawal date.
- Calculate the amount of the student’s earned and unearned Title IV aid.
- Calculate the amount of Title IV aid the College must return.
- Calculate the amount of Title IV aid the student must return.
- It is SUNY Oneonta’s policy that if Federal Grant funds are determined as required to be returned by the student, the College will return these funds from the student’s account, and the student will be required to pay any balance due resulting from this return by the College on the student’s behalf.
- Notify the student of the determinations and calculated values used in the calculation.
- Notify the student of the resulting balance owed to the College.
When returning Title IV funds to the U.S. Department of Education, the College returns them in a specific order per federal regulations.
- Unsubsidized Direct Loans
- Subsidized Direct Loans
- Federal PLUS Loans
- Pell Grant
- Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
Amounts required to be returned to the U.S. Department of Education by the College become debts immediately due and payable to the College upon completion of the calculation and will be billed to the student. The student MUST make prompt payment or payment arrangements to satisfy the debt owed to the College and the College reserves the right to turn the debt over to the NYS Attorney General for collection.
Amounts returned by the College to the U.S. Department of Education on the student’s behalf and owed to the College must be paid directly to the SUNY College at Oneonta Student Accounts Office. Do not send payments to any other department or agency.
These procedures as well as the federal laws/regulations they are based on are subject to change without advance notice.