A. Who gets federal student aid?

Every student who meets certain eligibility requirements can get some type of federal student aid, regardless of age or family income. If you are a student, some of the most basic eligibility requirements are that you must:

  1. demonstrate financial need (for most programs) by completing the FAFSA;
  2. be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen;
  3. have a valid Social Security number;
  4. be registered with Selective Service if you’re a male between the ages of 18 and 25;
  5. be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an eligible degree or certificate program;
  6. be enrolled at least half-time (for most programs);
  7. maintain satisfactory academic progress in college, career school, or graduate school;
  8. sign the certification statement on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) stating that:
    • you are not in default on a federal student loan and do not owe money on a federal student grant and
    • you will use federal student aid only for educational purposes; and
  9. show you’re qualified to obtain a college or career school education by
    • having a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) certificate or a state-recognized equivalent; or
    • completing a high-school education in a home-school setting approved under state law; or
    • enrolling in an eligible career pathways program.

Find more details about eligibility requirements.

B. What is Federal Title IV financial aid from FAFSA and how does it affect my bill?

Title IV financial aid funds are awards funded by the federal government (for example, Federal Stafford and PLUS Loans, and Pell and SEOG Grants). The government restricts the use of these funds and if a student withdraws early in a term/semester, these funds may be required to be returned first to the federal government. Awarding of these funds is based on need as determined by completing the FAFSA each year. Purchase College uses “Federal Methodology” in awarding Title IV federal aid. All Title IV/campus based aid is awarded following federal regulations as dictated by the US Department of Education. Please see Title IV Recalculation for additional detail.

C. Understanding the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

The federal government explains the EFC as: The EFC is a measure of how much you can contribute to the cost of your education. Schools use your EFC to determine your federal student aid Eligibility. The EFC is not how much aid you will receive or how much you have to pay for college.

D. Cost of Attendance

The cost of attendance is broken down on your SUNY Shopping Sheet which can be viewed on myHeliotrope. Both direct and indirect costs are listed. For all costs, please see semester charges.

E. Packaging

The awarding of funds occurs on a rolling basis as students complete their FAFSAs. Students are awarded using the federal government’s “Federal Methodology.” Certain funds run out early, such as College Work-Study.

F. Professional Judgment

The federal government allows colleges to use their “Professional Judgment,” but only certain criteria can be looked at. Purchase College lists the criteria that it can look at on the Special Circumstances Form (PDF). All decisions are final and not all cases will be approved. Paperwork will not be reviewed until it is complete. The Special Circumstance Committee meets once a week to review such paperwork.

G. Over-awarded Financial Aid

Students can only receive financial aid funding, including scholarships, grants, federal and private loans for up to the Cost of Attendance for an academic year.

If a student receives scholarship funding, loans or other awards that exceed the Cost of Attendance the college chooses to reduce student or parental loans ( private or federal) to reduce indebtedness.