Frequently Asked Questions
Financial Aid Basics
- You must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA becomes available for completion on October 1st of the prior year. The University filing deadline for 2024-2025 is March 15th. Stony Brook's federal school code is 002838.
- The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the amount that the student's family is expected to contribute towards the Cost of Attendance. The U.S. Department of Education uses Federal Methodology (FM) to calculate your financial aid eligibility.
FM takes into account:
- Your family income (including student's if dependent)
- Taxes paid
- The # of family members
- The # of brothers and sisters in college
- 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 consists of two parts, direct costs and indirect costs.
- Direct Costs are paid to the University and includes tuition, university fees, an average room and meal costs (if living on campus).
- Indirect Costs are estimated additional educational expenses that you may incur during the enrollment period such as average loan fees, a living allowance for room and meals (if living off-campus), transportation costs, and an allowance for personal expenses. These costs are not paid directly to the University. Additional educational expense allowances (such as childcare expenses) may be added to the standard budget upon receipt of request and supporting documentation.
- A SOLAR To Do List item will be assigned. Directions will be provided in the To Do List item detail. In addition, you will be notified via e-mail.
- Subsidized loan - Interest is paid for by the federal government while the student is enrolled in school. Students must qualify for need-based aid in order to be eligible for this loan.
- Unsubsidized loan - Student is responsible for interest during the life of the loan, even while enrolled in school. Student can elect to pay the interest while in school or they may choose to allow the interest to accrue (accumulate) and capitalize (add to the principal amount of the loan). Capitalizing the interest will increase the amount of loan when in repayment.
You should go the HESC website (www.hesc.ny.gov) or call New York State Higher Education Services at 1 (888) 697-4372.
No, due to FERPA regulations, we can only discuss eligibility for NYS Financial Aid with the student directly. Students can email us from their SBU email account, call, or visit the Registrar’s Office in person to address any questions or concerns. If a FERPA release form is submitted to the Financial Aid Office by the student, we can release information to the person/s listed on the form. More information about FERPA can be found here: https://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/registrar/policies/ferpa.php
In order to be eligible for New York State Financial Aid you must have graduated from High School in the United States, earned a high school equivalency diploma (GED), have an Associate’s Degree from an accredited United States College or passed a federally approved Ability to Benefit Exam as defined by the Commissioner of the State Education Department. This requirement must be met by the add/drop deadline of the semester you are seeking aid.
This requirement can also be met by having completed minimally 24 college credits from a United States college (You must have completed with a C or higher, 6 credits in English Language Arts, 3 credits in Math, 3 credits in Natural Science, 3 Credits in Social Science, 3 credits in Humanities and 6 credits in your degree program (major) as determined by the University in which you are seeking the aid).
Students must declare a major by their junior year (57 completed credits or higher, including transfer, AP and test credits); General and Area of Interest are NOT valid majors.
Note: For the STEM scholarship, the major declared must be a NYS STEM approved major. A complete list of STEM approved majors can be found here: https://www.hesc.ny.gov/pay-for-college/financial-aid/types-of-financial-aid/nys-grants-scholarships-awards/nys-science-technology-engineering-and-mathematics-stem-incentive-program/stem-approved-academic-program-listing
For TAP and NYS grants and/or scholarships, changing a major means that your eligibility for the semester will be reviewed based on the newly declared major effective for the given semester.
For Excelsior, the same applies, however, your entire college record prior to the given semester will also be evaluated. The credits from prior semesters must be evaluated against the newly declared major to see if credit requirements are still being met and a student is still on track to graduate within 4 years.
No, students must enroll in a minimum of 12 credits that are ALL applicable to their degree, primary declared major only, SBC, DEC and skill requirements or elective credit pool if available. Courses that are for minors, specializations or concentrations may ONLY be counted if the primary major requires completion of one or you have elective credit room. The Excelsior Scholarship allows courses towards a second major to be counted towards full-time load as well.
The only exception to this rule is in a student’s final term (must have applied for graduation) they must be enrolled in 12 credits but only 1 credit needs to be applicable to the degree.
In a student’s prior to final term, they must be enrolled in 12 credits, but only 6 credits need to be applicable to the degree.
You can view the TAP/Excelsior Certification Summary Pages on SOLAR 24-48 hours after registration to see a list of which courses/credits are degree applicable and which are not. This information can also be viewed on Degree Works to see specifically where each course is applying towards your degree. Additionally, students can meet with an academic advisor to discuss scheduling courses to satisfy the full-time load requirement.
For a list of advising offices, please visit: https://www.stonybrook.edu/for-students/academic-advising/
No, For TAP and NYS grants and/or scholarships, credits that apply only to a second major will not count unless your first major requires the completion of a second major in order to graduate.
ONLY the Excelsior Scholarship allows credits towards completion of a second major to count towards the full-time load requirement.
No. Credits that apply only to a minor, specialization or concentration will not count unless your first major requires the completion of one in order to graduate. For Excelsior they will count if the primary or second major require completion of one to graduate.
No, courses that are prerequisites to courses required for your degree are not considered towards full-time load.
No. Credits being considered must apply to the current major on record for the semester being reviewed for certification. Please see the major declaration deadlines for each semester on the academic calendar.
If it is required that you retake a course in order to complete a necessary degree requirement, these credits will be considered. However, if you retake a course that is not needed or one in which you received a grade of C or higher previously, (transfer, AP and test credits included) those credits will not be included as part of the 12 credit minimum requirement.
Not necessarily. A student needs to have earned at least 30, 60, or 90 degree applicable credits after the 1 st, 2 nd, or 3 rd year of college study to remain eligible for the NYS Excelsior Scholarship. AP and pre-matriculation college credits can be used to make up credit deficiencies, if necessary and enough are available. The Excelsior Certification Summary page on SOLAR will show, specifically, how credits are being applied.
No. There is no 15 credit enrollment requirement for the NYS Excelsior scholarship. The full time enrollment requirement for all NYS aid is at least 12 degree applicable credits.
No. Although you can petition to make changes to your schedule after the add/drop deadline for each semester, eligibility is reviewed with the schedule that was in place as of the add/drop deadline date. Please view the academic calendar each semester to see appropriate deadlines.
It could. Although receiving a P or W grade would not impact the current semester that may have already been certified, it can make a student ineligible for TAP/Scholarships for the following semester. A percentage of 12 degree applicable credits must be pursued each semester without W or P grades. For more specific information, please visit www.hesc.ny.gov or contact our office.
There is a TAP Certification Summary page as well as an Excelsior Certification Summary page available on SOLAR. These pages will list all degree applicable credits as well as other eligibility requirements. Please allow 24-48 hours for credits to display after course registration or changes.
If you believe that a course should be considered degree applicable but it is not appearing as such on Degree Works and the TAP/Excelsior Certification Summary pages, please reach out to your major department. Your department can request to post an exception/correction to Degree Works (if appropriate) and if approved, this would be reflected on your Degree Works audit as well updated on the TAP/Excelsior Certification Summary pages 24-48 hours after processing. We encourage these issues to be addressed prior to the add/drop deadline to prevent a delay in certification.
No. To be eligible for Excelsior, a student must be on track to graduate within 4 years of beginning their college career.
No. If the credit requirement is not met, eligibility for the Excelsior Scholarship cannot be regained.
A student would not be eligible for the Excelsior Scholarship if there is or was any break in attendance.
No. Excelsior is only available for fall and spring semesters, if eligible.
Summer Financial Aid
- Students who have submitted a valid FAFSA and who have also enrolled for summer classes will automatically be awarded a summer financial aid award package. Please see Summer Financial Aid for more details.
What Do I Need "To-Do" Now
- Visit our “Understanding the Process” page for a helpful diagram.
- The Master Promissory note for Stafford loans can be completed electronically atwww.studentloans.gov.
- We recommend that you wait until all of your term charges have been posted prior to applying for a Parent Plus Loan. This will allow you to make a more informed decision. Visit our parent web page for Parent Loan process.
- All requests to establish residency are handled by Student Accounts. You can read about residency requirements and download the residency questionnaire at: www.stonybrook.edu/bursar
- Log into the Solar System.
- Click Financial Aid, which can be found in the Student Financial Services section.
- Click View & Accept Decline FinAid.
- Click the appropriate Aid Year.
- Scroll to the term in question.
- Click View Scheduled Disbursements.
- Note: Scheduled disbursements display the earliest date an award can disburse. If the scheduled disbursement date has passed, and your aid has failed to disburse there is something unfinished that needs to be addressed. Please check to see if you have any To Do List items.
- Listed below are the common reasons that would impact loan disbursement.
- You have not accepted the loan on the Solar System.
- You have not taken care of required To Do List items. Log into the Solar System to view your To Do List items.
- You have not signed your Master Promissory Note (MPN).
- You have not completed Entrance Counseling.
- You are not enrolled and attending at least 6 credits.
- 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 at least half time (6 credits) in order for any loan disbursement to occur.
- 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 weekly. Refunds through direct deposit are processed daily.
Federal Work Study
- A great way to find a job is by attending the annual job expo. This event occurs the first or second Wednesday of the fall term. A complete listing of all on-campus jobs is available on the Career Center Website http://www.career.sunysb.edu/.
- Federal Work-Study is a form of need based aid. In order to be considered for this program you must file your FAFSA by the University priority filing date of February 15th. Since there is a limited amount of funding available, students are encouraged to file their FAFSA as early as possible. Be sure to indicate on your FAFSA that you are interested in Federal Work Study.
- You should speak with a Financial Aid Advisor to discuss options.
- File your FAFSA.
- Carefully review and follow the directions in the Dependency Status section of the FAFSA.
- Continue to log into SOLAR to monitor your To Do List. We will let you know specifically what documentation you will need to submit.
- DO NOT submit documentation (including personal letters of explanation) until we ask for it.
- Visit the Financial Aid Study Abroad web page for detailed information.
- Students with a status of deferred action are not eligible to receive federal or state aid. However, they will be considered for University merit based scholarships upon admission to Stony Brook. To read more about deferred action please visit our Visa and Immigration Services page.
A bill has been passed suspending payments and interest accrual on Federal Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) held by the Department of Education have been until September 30, 2021. For more information on the COVID-19 emergency relief flexibilities, visit www.studentaid.gov.
- Economic Hardship Deferment or Unemployment Deferment options may be available for you. Please contact the Student Loan Servicing Center for additional information: https://slsc.albany.edu/.
The Department of Education has suspended the in-person submission or notarized document requirement. While the documents will still be required, they may instead be submitted in person or electronically, via email, through uploading photos, or through the school’s portal. Please review your SOLAR account for instructions.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law to provide economic relief from COVID-19. One section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) and sent money to schools to use for emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic. These grants are not meant to offset loss of income, student or family job loss, or pay for other family expenses. The goal of these funds is to provide financial assistance to a wide range of students in a timely manner in order for them to maintain access to education.
The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II) is authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act of 2021 and includes resources that can go directly to eligible students to cover educational expenses or emergency costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to qualify for funding, students must have a valid 20-21 FAFSA on file, meet federal financial aid eligibility requirements, and demonstrate financial need.
Please visit the HEERF II webpage for additional information.