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Review / Accept Aid / Outstanding Requirements

Accepting or Declining Your Award

Students must accept / decline financial aid via BearPAWS.

  • Certain awards such as Federal Work Study and SEOG are limited and will be cancelled when a student neglects to complete the BearPAWS process by the deadline. Deadlines are posted in BearPAWS for each award.
  • All awards must be accepted two weeks before the student’s last day of enrollment each academic year.

Consent to Release Student Information

A student may rely on family members / friends to assist with the Financial Aid process. The Financial Aid Office must adhere to FERPA.  Therefore, our staff will 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 or following instructions here.

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

Eligible applicants who file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (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 via our Status Change Form (PDF)

  • Think about the amount and type of loan being accepted. Only borrow what you absolutely need.
  • You can view your loan history by logging into the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). You will need your FSA ID and Password.
  • If you wish to accept less than the amount awarded, contact the Financial Aid Office in writing using your Potsdam Email account via an email to or written statement. 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).

Outstanding Requirements

Students may review their outstanding Financial Aid requirements in BearPAWS.

  1. Log on to your BearPAWS account
  2. Go to Student Services/Financial Aid Tab
  3. Click on Financial Aid
  4. Select "Eligibility"
  5. Choose Student Requirements
  6. Select Aid Year

You will then see a list of your unsatisfied (outstanding) requirements. Please complete these requirements as soon as possible.  Your financial aid may be delayed until the requirements are complete.


The US Department of Education may select your FAFSA application for verification to confirm the accuracy of your application data. Under federal regulations, your participation is mandatory, not voluntary and we appreciate your cooperation. Changes in award amounts may result if FAFSA data was estimate or inaccurate. Failure to provide requested documentation can result in cancellation of aid awarded or repayment of aid disbursed. If you are selected, we will request information/documentation which may include but is not limited to DRT completion or a federal tax return transcript as well as our federal verification worksheet.

Students may review requirements for completing verification via BearPAWS.

Learn More about Financial Aid Verification

How Aid is Awarded

Federal student aid includes three different kinds of financial help: grants, low-interest loans, and work-study funds (a part-time job on or near campus). To learn more about the different types of federal student aid, visit

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 and SEOG) 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.

When Aid is Disbursed

For the Fall and Spring semesters, funds disbursements to your student account start around the following dates: Direct Federal loans start to disburse during the second week of classes; Pell during the third week; Potsdam scholarships and SEOG during the fourth week; ACCES-VR and EOP Book Excess during week seven; TAP and SUNY Tuition Credit during week eight. Funds may not disburse if you have outstanding requirements; please check your BearPAWS under Student Eligibility/Requirements.

Disbursements vary from student to student during the Summer semester - please check with the One Stop for more information about when to expect disbursements of your summer funds.

Graduate Students

How to finance your Graduate Degree: