Financial Aid Awards

Information on the new FAFSA for 2024-2025

Financial aid offers are currently being released for incoming and returning students who have completed their FAFSA. Offers can be viewed in myOneonta. New students will also get their package via USPS.

If you have not yet filed your FAFSA, you should do so now on the website. Students and families who have completed a FAFSA in the past will notice some changes. Find out what is different and get answers to frequently asked questions on our FAFSA FAQ page.

Have a question? The team in Financial Aid is dedicated to serving and assisting students, families, staff, and faculty. Please contact us by setting up an appointment with your assigned financial aid advisor, emailing us at, or visiting our Contact Financial Aid page to contact a specific team member.


Scholarships do not need to be repaid.

There is no separate application process for most SUNY Oneonta and SUNY Oneonta Foundation scholarships which are awarded by the university using information provided on your admission application and the FAFSA. Other programs may require additional or different applications.



Grants do not need to be repaid. Sources of grants include the federal and state government, SUNY Oneonta and a number of private organizations.

There is no separate application process for federal grants; information provided on the FAFSA will be used to determine your eligibility. Other programs may require additional or different applications.

Grant Programs

Work Study

The Federal Work Study program provides students the opportunity to earn money and gain valuable work experience during the school year.

There is no separate application process; information provided on the FAFSA will be used to determine your eligibility.

Work Study Program


Students and others who apply for loans must always be aware that they are taking on a financial responsibility and have promised to pay the money back with interest.

There is no separate application process for federal loans; information provided on the FAFSA will be used to determine your eligibility. Students will receive an email notification with instructions when the required loan steps are available for completion.

Loan Programs

Graduate aid opportunities

In addition to federal aid and scholarships, the university offers Graduate and Teaching Assistantships to a number of full-time graduate students and Diversity Fellowships to qualified students.

Graduate Awards

Private awards and scholarships

It is your responsibility to inform the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships about any private scholarships and/or awards you will receive. Private scholarships or assistance which you have informed us are included in your Award Letter.

Contact 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).

Financial 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.

What is the student's responsibility?

In determining financial need, prior-prior year income and other data is reported on financial aid applications. Students and parents will likely bear some financial responsibility for the cost of attendance.

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.

Independent Student Policy

Independent student status is defined by federal law. The law defines an independent student as a student who:

  1. Is at least 24 years old by December 31 of the award year,
  2. Is a veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States, or is engaged in active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training,
  3. Is a graduate student (pursuing a Master's or PhD.),
  4. Is married, at the time the FAFSA is signed,
  5. Since turning age 13 became an orphan, was in foster care, or was a dependent or ward of the court,
  6. Is currently in legal guardianship,
  7. Is verified as an unaccompanied youth who is homeless, or at risk of being homeless, and
  8. Has legal dependents other than spouse (provides more than half of the dependent’s support).

Please note: The definition makes no reference to the student being or not being claimed for tax purposes by the parents or about any level of student earnings.

Use of Professional Judgment

Federal regulations permit the university at Oneonta to exercise professional judgment in determining if unusual circumstances can be documented to make the student independent for federal student financial aid purposes. This determination is made on a case by case basis.

Student Procedure

If the student is dependent by definition but believes circumstances are present to establish him/her as “independent”, the student can request a review of their unusual circumstances by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at SUNY Oneonta. Students who are unable to provide parental data on the FAFSA may submit the application by indicating that they believe they have special circumstances. The following steps are required:

  1. Student must provide, in writing, a full explanation of their unusual circumstances with specifics.
  2. Student must secure written documentation from at least two appropriate persons, agencies, etc., confirming the specifics as identified by the student. It must be in writing and signed and dated by the appropriate party. One supporting letter should be from a disinterested third party.
  3. Student is responsible for providing full written documentation to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at SUNY Oneonta.

What Does Not Constitute Unusual Circumstances

The university at Oneonta maintains that certain circumstances cannot be considered unusual. For example, a parent refusing to provide data, a student who does not want to ask parents for information, a student who is and has been “on their own” for several years, a student who does not communicate with parents. A student who has been independent in past years would not be considered independent unless he/she met one of the conditions of the current independent student definition.

Review of Unusual Circumstances

On a case by case basis, personnel in the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will exercise professional judgment in determining if unusual circumstances exist and if adequate documentation has been provided. The student will be notified of the decision in writing. Other colleges may not accept SUNY Oneonta’s determination of independent status. Likewise, if another college has granted you independent status, SUNY Oneonta reserves the right to require the above documentation for our review and determination.

Note: Financial Aid Awards are contingent upon the university 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.

Special Circumstances

In some cases, the FAFSA does not accurately depict the family's current financial condition. Sometimes certain unforeseen circumstances occur, such as unemployment or major health issues that are beyond the family's control. We can work with you and your family to determine if the information reported on your FAFSA is an accurate indication of the family's ability to contribute toward educational costs. Under certain circumstances we may be able to use our professional judgment to amend certain FAFSA information. Documentation will be requested according to individual circumstances. As a first step, please make sure we have a valid FAFSA reflecting your actual income information from the required year. Once the FAFSA is processed, we may make changes based on special circumstances. Secondly, please submit your special review request after you have been admitted to SUNY Oneonta.

Please understand while completing this Special Review it is our goal to determine your possible eligibility for the Federal PELL Grant and/or the Federal Direct Subsidized Student Loan.

When completing your Special Review SUNY Oneonta must adhere to State and Federal guidelines and regulations. After the review is completed and based on the revised information, we cannot guarantee an improvement of the current financial aid award offer, but we will certainly try our best!

Below we have outlined some common reasons for requesting a special review with recommended documentation that we may request. A brief description of your current household circumstances should be emailed to Your assigned Financial Aid Advisor will review your request and get back to you with additional information.

Please include the student’s full name and Oneonta ID number in your request for a special review.


The student or student’s parent(s) experienced a substantial loss in earnings due to circumstances beyond their control since the base year of the FAFSA. The loss of employment must be at least 12 weeks.


  • Reason for loss of earnings
  • 1040 tax return or IRS Retrieval data of actual income
  • Total estimated current annual income (January 1 - December 31 of current year)

Itemize all gross income earned to date. Include any of the following sources of income:

  • Year to date gross income from wages (recent paystub)
  • Estimate to the best of your ability the gross household income to years end
  • Disability payments
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Proof of unemployment benefits
  • Alimony
  • IRA distributions
  • Income from business/farm/rental properties
  • Child Support


The student or student’s parents experienced unusually high medical or dental charges not covered by insurance.


  • Document total medical payments with an itemized statement of charges and payments by hospital/ doctor/dentist during the past two years
  • Document the amount covered by insurance

This list is not exhaustive. If you feel there are other special circumstances, please contact your financial aid advisor to discuss options that may be available to you. We are not allowed to consider debt (mortgage, car payments, credit card debt, month-to-month utility bills) as special circumstances.

Note: Financial Aid awards are contingent upon the university 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.

General financial aid information

Financial aid is awarded to students matriculated (accepted into) in an approved degree program/program of study based upon enrollment.

Financial Aid is a two-step process:

  1. the eligibility phase is represented by your award notification.
  2. turn that eligibility into cash that you can use to actually pay your student bill and/or be refunded to students/parents for indirect costs. This second phase requires additional steps which typically occur during the summer months. For some types of financial aid, these steps are very easy, others are more complex. Be assured we will assist you each step of the way. Our goal is to convert all eligibility for which you are interested, into real money that you can use to pay your tuition bill and other expenses.

We itemize each of the awards you qualify for and tell you the amount for each semester. You may pick and choose the awards that best suits your needs. Some awards are grants that are not repaid. Other awards are loans that must be repaid and others are work programs where you are paid based on the number of hours you perform work.

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.

If some of your 12 credits are not required for your degree program, they are not degree applicable credits (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.

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

These are average charges payable to SUNY Oneonta. Such charges include tuition, fees, and perhaps room and board (if you live on campus). Charges for residence living and meal plans vary according to the living arrangement and meal plans you choose. Your financial aid eligibility is based upon an average, not upon actual charges. If your actual charges exceed the average you must expect to pay the the difference from personal resources or use financial aid designated for other charges. Your financial aid eligibility will not increase. You may be able to defer payment for these charges with your financial aid awards. Those awards are identified above

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

Indirect Costs

These are costs a student may incur while attending SUNY Oneonta. Such costs include traveling home when classes are not in session, books, personal expenses, and rent (if you live off campus and this is equal to the allowance you would receive if chose to live on campus). Your financial aid eligibility is based upon an average, not upon actual costs. If your actual costs exceed the average you must expect to pay the the difference from personal resources. Your financial aid eligibility will not increase. Since these costs originate from sources external to the university you will be expected to pay for these products and services, not defer payment with your financial aid.

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