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Review / Accept Aid

Accepting or Declining Your Award

You must respond to the aid offered on your Financial Aid Award Notification. Awards will be canceled if no response is received by May 1 for new students for the fall semester, or within 30 days of the notification, whichever is later. Your response must be received by the Financial Aid office at least one week before the last day of enrollment in each academic year.

Eligible applicants who file the FAFSA are offered aid based on full-time status (12 or more credit hours for financial aid purposes). If your enrollment will be fewer than 12 credits, please notify the Financial Aid Office.

Before deciding to accept an award, please consider the following:

  • Think about the amount and type of loan being accepted. Do not borrow more than you absolutely need.
  • You can view your loan history by logging into the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at: You will need your FAFSA PIN.
  • If you want to accept a lesser amount than the amount awarded, contact the Financial Aid Office. The amount you accept will be split between two semesters.

BearPAWS Instructions to Accept Awards

  1. Go to BearPAWS at
  2. Enter your Username and Password. Click the Login button.
  3. Click on Student Services & Financial Aid.
  4. Click on Financial Aid.
  5. Click on Award.
  6. Click on Award Confirmation.
  7. Select aid year July 1, 20xx - June 30, 20xx. Click Submit.
  8. Review your Student Status verification; complete the Status Change Form (see link) to inform the Financial Aid Office of any changes. Click Next.  Review, then click Continue.
  9. To ACCEPT/DECLINE your awards, click the Accept Award Offer tab. Review the instructions denoted with an "i" near the top of the page.  Some AWARDS do not require ACTION and no drop down will be available.
  10. Click on the drop-down box(es), select the desired option(s), and click on Submit Decision.  To accept partial awards or make changes, please advise the Financial Aid Office in writing (Potsdam email is acceptable).

Graduate Students

Please review Financial Assistance for Graduate Students (PDF) for information including, but not limited to:

  • Aid for Prerequisite and Summer Courses
  • Federal Aid
  • State Aid
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy & Eligibility Status
  • Graduate Scholarship Information

Consent to Release Student Information

The Financial Aid office may not disclose your personal and financial information without your express permission. You can give your permission by using the Web for Proxy tab in BearPAWS.  Web for Proxy allows you to select the information to which you want your proxy guest to have access, either through BearPAWS and/or by phone.  For more information, check here or click on the Web for Proxy tab in your BearPAWS.

Student Authorization

Federal law permits colleges to automatically pay a student's tuition, fees, as well as room and board charges, if contracted through the college, with Title IV federal funds.With the student's authorization, these funds may also be used to pay your other billed charges, including required SUNY fees, course-related fees and optional fees you have chosen to include.

You may authorize SUNY Potsdam these fees with federal aid by downloading and completing the Student Authorization form (PDF). If you choose not to sign the Student Authorization statement, these fees will need to be paid at the time of billing.

Conditions of Award

  • Federal and state funds awarded will be used solely for expenses related to the attendance at SUNY Potsdam.
  • Satisfactory academic progress must be maintained.
  • Confirmed Federal Pell Grant, TAP, FSEOG, Federal TEACH Grant, Federal Perkins and Direct loans will be deferred against the College bill once all outstanding requirements are complete.
  • Scholarships, grants, and loans awarded by outside sources other than SUNY Potsdam must be documented for the Financial Aid Office for inclusion in the aid package.


Your application may be selected for review as part of the Federal Quality Assurance (QA) and Institutional Verification Programs, which help to determine the accuracy of application data. If you are selected, you will be requested to provide additional documentation such as a federal tax return transcript. Under federal regulations, your participation is mandatory, not voluntary, and we appreciate your cooperation. Failure to provide requested documentation can result in cancellation of aid awarded or repayment of aid disbursed.

  • Applicants selected for the verification process will be required to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA, or they may choose to request a tax return transcript (PDF) from the IRS which can be submitted to the Financial Aid Office.
  • Changes in award(s) may result if FAFSA data was estimate or inaccurate.

Learn More about Financial Aid Verification

How Aid is Awarded

Your award package is based on a combination of available funds and your eligibility. Your award package may not include funding from all aid programs. Some funds carry restrictions and some are limited as to amounts that can be awarded. The priority deadline to apply for financial aid is January 1 for the fall semester and November 1 for the spring semester. Eligible students who have successfully submitted the FAFSA to the SUNY Potsdam Financial Aid office by the priority filing date will be considered for campus-based funds.

The Federal Pell Grant is the first award added to your package, if you are eligible. The next awards are other grants (federal, state, and/or institutional) and/or scholarship(s). Some grant and scholarship funds have restrictions which limit awards to New York State residents. SUNY Potsdam scholarships are limited, but are awarded to eligible undergraduate and graduate students until funds are no longer available. Campus-based funds (Work Study, SEOG and Perkins loans) and Federal Stafford loans are awarded next. Students must indicate on the FAFSA that they are interested in Work Study to be considered for the award.