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Eligibility and Withdrawal

Almost all students are eligible for some type of financial assistance, regardless of family income. Your eligibility is determined by the information you provide on the FAFSA. There are some basic eligibility requirements:

General Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen with a valid Social Security Number.
  • Be a matriculated student and working toward a degree.
  • Be a non-matriculated student working on prerequisite coursework required for a graduate degree or taking classes toward a teachers certificate (financial assistance for these students is more restricted).
  • Be registered with Selective Service, if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 25.
  • Sign statements 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.

Annual, Aggregate, and Lifetime Limits:

  • The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds you may receive over your lifetime is limited by a new federal law to be the equivalent of six years of Pell Grant funding.
  • There are annual and aggregate borrowing limits on Federal Direct Loans, and these loans can be borrowed only up to 150% of the published length of the degree program requirements.
  • Full-time undergraduate students in a four-year program will be eligible for Federal Direct Subsidized loans for the equivalent of six years. Students who reach this limitation may be able to continue to receive Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans. Once the 150 percent limitation is reached, eligibility for the interest subsidy also ends for all outstanding subsidized loans that were disbursed on or after July 1, 2013. Interest on these loans would begin to accrue and would be payable in the same manner as interest on unsubsidized loans.
  • Undergraduate TAP eligibility is generally limited to up to four academic years or eight semesters.

Academic Eligibility Requirements:

Enrollment Eligibility Requirements:

  • Enroll in credits that count toward your degree program.  This includes credits for your Major requirement, General Education requirements, and eligible elective credits.  Federal and State regulations require that only credits that count towards your degree program are eligible for financial aid.
  • Be enrolled in 6 or more credit hours to be eligible for most forms of federal aid. Some PELL eligible students may be eligible for the Federal PELL and SEOG Grant if they are enrolled in less than 6 credit hours.  Most state aid requires full-time enrollment (at least 12 credits). Students receiving state aid, which includes the TAP Grant, should contact One Stop if enrolled in fewer than 12 eligible credits.
  • Maintain enrollment for the entire semester. For information about the impact of withdrawing from the college on your financial aid, please read about "Withdrawing from SUNY Potsdam" below.
  • Maintain enrollment in registered courses. For information about the impact of dropping a class on your financial aid, please read about "Withdrawing from one or more courses" below.

Eligibility for Preparatory Coursework and Teacher's Certification:

  • A student not enrolled in a degree or certificate program is eligible for some financial aid if the student is taking coursework necessary for his or her enrollment in an eligible program.
  • A student enrolled in a required teacher certification program is eligible for some financial aid.
  • Preparatory Coursework and Teacher's Certification. To learn more about the eligibility requirements to receive financial aid for preparatory coursework and teacher's certification.


Unusual Enrollment History (UEH):

  • Beginning in the 2013-2014 academic year, the U.S. Department of Education will identify students with an unusual enrollment history. When a student has been enrolled at three or more institutions over the past three academic years and received Pell Grant funds, the Financial Aid office must verify that the student has received academic credit at each of these institutions. If additional documentation is required for the review, the student will be contacted. If academic credit (or lack thereof) cannot be verified or satisfactorily documented, the student will be denied Title IV, HEA program assistance (Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Work-Study, Federal TEACH Grant/Loan, Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students, Graduate PLUS, and Federal Stafford Loan).
  • Appeals: If a student has been determined to be ineligible for Federal student aid as a result of a UEH review, the determination may be appealed by contacting the Financial Aid office.
  • Regaining Federal student aid eligibility: Students whose aid has been denied as a result of their UEH review can regain eligibility through a UEH Appeal, or by applying for aid for a subsequent academic year.