How do I check the status of my financial aid?
You can check the status of your financial aid online by using the ConnectOW portal. Select the “Finances” icon from your portal homepage and you’ll then gain access to a variety of information and options and be able to view (1) the status of your financial aid; (2) any outstanding requirements needed to process your aid; (3) the amount of aid to be awarded; and (4) accept the award online.
Why does financial aid show up in my account but the Bursar’s Office says it’s not there?
Your aid may have been recently processed or is still being processed. Another reason may be that you have not completed all the financial aid requirements so your aid is not in an authorized status. Aid is considered to be in an authorized status when all financial aid requirements (ex. electronic acceptance of your award letter; a completed promissory note on file; copies of tax transcripts submitted if selected for verification; etc.) are met. Depending on the type of aid you have, this can take up to three to four weeks. Until your aid becomes authorized, the Bursar’s Office will not be able to see or credit any aid to your account.
When is the FAFSA filing deadline?
The FAFSA deadline for the Fall and Spring semesters is April 15th. If the deadline falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then it will be pushed to the following Monday. You should also make sure that you have submitted all supporting documents for Fall/Spring financial aid by May 1st. If you are seeking financial aid (TAP, Pell & Direct Loans) for the Summer session, March 31st is the suggested deadline to file the FAFSA and April 1st is the deadline to submit all supporting documents for Summer financial aid.
Do I have to file a FAFSA every year to receive aid?
Yes. The FAFSA must be completed each academic year you plan to attend college. The FAFSA determines eligibility for grants and loans and considers yearly changes in income which determine the amount of aid you receive. However, you do not have to file the FAFSA if you know that you are not eligible for grants and do not want to borrow a federal student loan.
When and how will SUNY Old Westbury notify me if I will receive a financial aid award?
Once Old Westbury receives your FAFSA data, the Financial Aid Office will contact you about your potential award. Tracking letters will also be sent periodically reminding you of the status of the aid and requesting any documents that still need to be submitted. When all requirements are met, the Financial Aid Office will send you an electronic SmartTrack Award Letter indicating the type and amount of aid that is being offered to you. You can view, print and accept the Award Letter online via the Finances page of the ConnectOW portal or sign and return it to the Financial Aid Office.
How do I find out if I am eligible for Federal Work-Study? How do I apply for a Work-Study job?
If you indicated on your FAFSA application that you are interested in work-study and you meet all eligibility requirements, the work-study award will appear in the electronic SmartTrack Award Letter sent electronically to you. You can also get answers to questions regarding work-study opportunities by calling the Financial Aid Office and speaking with the campus’ Work-Study Coordinator.
Where can I find information on different scholarships, grants and loans?
You can find Information on scholarships, grants and loans on our website under the Financial Aid tab as well as researching the various government and private organizational programs. Please see below some helpful websites such as:
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid Website
- College Board
- NYS Higher Education Services Corporation
- U.S. Department of Education Student Aid Website
All contain a wealth of information on scholarships, grants and loans. You may also obtain information on institutional scholarships by contacting the Office of Institutional Advancement, located on the 4th Floor of Campus Center, Room H-425.
What should I do if my financial aid won't cover all my expenses?
If you are short on financial aid funds you may consider obtaining a loan. If you are registered at least as a halftime student (6 credits for graduate students; 8 credits for undergraduate students), you can apply for Federal Student Loans, your parents can apply for a Parent Plus Loan, or you can apply for an Alternative/Private Loan through a bank or other financial institution. Another alternative may be to contact the Bursar’s Office to establish a payment plan.
Do I have to be enrolled in school full-time to be eligible for financial aid? What is the minimum credit hour requirement to receive financial aid?
No. You do not have to be enrolled full-time to be eligible for financial aid. If you qualify for a Federal Pell Grant, you may be eligible to receive it even if you are less than half-time. Federal Direct Student Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) require you to be enrolled for at least 6 credits. To receive state aid (TAP) you must enroll for at least 12 credits. You may also apply for Aid for Part-Time Study (APTS) if you are taking 3 to 11 credits.
Is there financial aid available for the summer?
Yes. If you are enrolled for a minimum of 6 credits you may be eligible for federal loans and state TAP. You may also be eligible for a Pell grant if you have less than 6 credits depending on your Expected Family Contribution reported in your FAFSA. If you are seeking financial aid (TAP, Pell and Direct Loans) for the summer session, March 31st is the suggested deadline to file the FAFSA and April 1st is the deadline to submit all supporting documents for summer financial aid. If you plan to attend summer school you should meet with your Financial Aid Advisor to determine your eligibility for summer aid. You should be aware that Summer aid is part of the total aid you are entitled for the academic year and by accepting the Summer aid, you will have less aid for the Fall and Spring semesters.
My FAFSA application has been selected for verification, what does that mean?
Verification means that the Financial Aid Office is required to confirm the accuracy of information reported on the FAFSA. The federal government can randomly select FAFSA applicants for verification or you may be selected if you have provided conflicting information in the FAFSA and in other financial aid records. If you have been selected for verification, the Financial Aid Office will request additional information and documents from you to determine your final eligibility for aid.
What should I do if my family’s financial circumstances change after I receive my financial aid award?
You should immediately notify your Financial Aid Advisor if your family’s financial circumstances change because the changes may impact your financial aid eligibility. The Financial Aid Advisor can determine if the change in circumstances is significant enough to warrant a financial aid professional judgment which can lead to an adjustment in the amount of your aid.
When do I have to start repaying my loans?
You must start repaying your loans from 6 to 9 months after you leave or graduate from SUNY Old Westbury or 6 months after your enrollment status falls below half-time (less than six credit hours). If you attend graduate school, your repayment can be deferred. You will have a 6 month grace period for federal loans and a 9 month grace period for Perkins loans they have borrowed before repayment begins. There are no pre-payment penalties on student loans so you can make payments while still in college.
I am expecting a refund of financial aid. When will I be issued a refund check?
Refunds due to financial aid exceeding the tuition and fees charges for the semester are normally processed within two weeks of the aid being disbursed to a student account. If you have not received the excess aid, please contact the Bursar’s Office by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Refunds may be processed directly to your bank account via the secure e-Refund process set-up in the ConnectOW portal. We encourage you to sign up for this process to receive your refund in a more timely manner. Get more information about the e-Refund process.
If you have further questions please feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office at 516-876-3000, Option 3. Our Office is located in the Student Services Center, Room H-100A, Campus Center upper level of the Atrium.