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Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions

How and when do I apply for financial aid?

You must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at After October 1st, you are advised to file for the upcoming academic year. Stony Brook's federal school code is 002838.

What is Financial Need and my EFC?

 Your financial aid eligibility is based on your financial need. Financial need is calculated by subtracting your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from your estimated Cost of Attendance (COA), also referred to as your estimated financial aid budget. Due to limited resources, the amount of financial aid awarded to you may not cover your total financial need.

The EFC is a measure of your and/or your family's financial strength and indicates how much money should be available to help pay for your education. The EFC is calculated according to a formula established by law based on the information reported on the FAFSA. The EFC is used to determine eligibility for some federal grant, work, and loan programs. There are other loans like Federal Direct PLUS that are available to replace the EFC. Contact your Financial Aid Office for additional information. Your EFC is listed on your resulting Student Aid Report (SAR) after you have filed your FAFSA.

If you or your parents' financial circumstances have changed since the FAFSA was completed, contact your Financial Aid Office to see if you should complete a re-evaluation form.

What is the Cost of Attendance (COA)?
The Cost of Attendance, also referred to as a financial aid budget, is an estimate of your educational expenses for the period of enrollment. This budget is consists of two parts, direct costs and indirect costs.

Direct Costs are paid to the University and include tuition, university fees, and average room and meal costs (if living on campus).

Indirect Costs are estimated additional educational expenses that you may incur during the enrollment period. These costs are not paid directly to the University and include budget category items such as books and supplies, transportation, personal expense allowance, average loan fees, and a living allowance for room and meals (if living off-campus).

Additional educational expense allowances (such as childcare expenses) may be added to the standard budget upon receipt of request and supporting documentation.
My program begins in the summer, can I get financial aid?

In addition to filing the FAFSA, you must be enrolled for at least 6 credits. Please see Summer Financial Aid.


Where do I complete my Master Promissory Note?
To complete your promissory note for any loans, the Master Promissory note can be completed electronically at
I've been awarded federal work-study, where do I go to find employment?
Job listings are available on
When do I receive my loans?
Loan funds are disbursed to the University in two disbursements, one for the fall and one for the spring semester at the beginning of each term. The scheduled disbursement date for all summer Federal Direct loans begins JULY 1. You must be enrolled AND ATTENDING at least half time (6 credits) in order for any loan disbursement to occur.
How do I get my refund check?

The Bursar's Office offers a convenient program for processing student refunds. Through direct deposit, they will deposit any student refund into the financial institution of your choice. Electronic deposits are secure, fast and convenient and you can avoid waiting to receive your refund check at the counter or in the mail. Enrollment is done via the SOLAR system . To enroll, log into SOLAR > Student Financial Services > Account Information/Payment > Direct Deposit > Add Account > Complete the Panel > Save. At any point during the term you may edit or delete this direct deposit refund option. Refund checks are printed every other week. Refunds through direct deposit are processed daily.  

My TAP award has not been received, how do I check the status of my application?
You should go the HESC website ( or call New York State Higher Education Services at 1 (888) 697-4372.
I've borrowed the maximum in federal student loans but need more money!
You should speak with a Financial Aid Advisor. Telephone: (631) 444-2111
I've accepted my financial aid awards on-line, what is the next step?
Access your SOLAR account on a regular basis--you will find important information about your financial aid and University account. It is also the way we will communicate with you if anything is needed. You may receive messages regarding your application or your awards. Any missing items from your application will appear under “My To Do List Items.” Once we review your aid application, your award offers will be posted and will be ready for you to review and accept/decline by clicking “My Financial Aid Awards.” Your account information, any anticipated financial aid, and check refunds waiting for you will be displayed by clicking “Account Summary/What do I owe?”
What if I have had a change in circumstances after I complete my FAFSA, or I have additional educational expenses that are not listed on my Cost of Attendance (COA)?
Contact the financial aid office. Telephone: (631) 444-2111


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