Why is student financial aid being disbursed mid-semester rather than at semester start?
- To reduce student and college debt. If a student does not attend classes or withdraws from any class during the first three weeks of the semester, the college has to return the student’s federal aid to the government. If the aid has already been given to the student, he or she ends up owing the College. Currently, $500,000 due from students is not being paid per year. Attending classes goes a long way toward helping hold down future student debt because it keeps financial aid in place.
- Attendance. All financial aid is based upon attendance, including federal and state grants, scholarships and loans. Attendance is taken in week 4 and again in week 10, then the impact on each student’s financial aid is calculated and the amount due is placed in his or her student account. Students need to be in attendance through 60% of the semester to be fully eligible for all of their federal financial aid (Pell grants, student loans, SEOG).
- Best practice. The federal government recommends disbursing financial aid after enrollment is confirmed.
- NYS Comptroller’s audit recommendation. A recent SUNY Broome audit confirmed the need to wait until attendance is confirmed to disburse aid.
- Standard operating procedure. This is how nearly all SUNY community colleges disburse financial aid.
We fully understand that these funds are very important to our students. SUNY Broome has streamlined its internal efforts to assure attendance is reported timely and financial aid is disbursed to students as quickly as possible.
Financial Aid Disbursement Changes
SUNY Broome has long been concerned about the impact of student debt on the success and long-term financial future of its students. This concern has been loudly echoed nationwide.
After careful consideration and review, which included a comprehensive survey of fellow SUNY community colleges, SUNY Broome has determined that changes to its disbursement of financial aid linked to attendance are necessary. These changes will better reflect the common practices used by the majority of SUNY community colleges and are intended to protect the academic success and financial stability of our students.
Financial aid funds will be distributed after the processing of third week attendance has been completed and credit balances will be made available by approximately the end of the sixth week. Tuition, fees, and college residence charges will be covered by anticipated financial aid.
To make sure students relying on financial aid can start the semester with the books and supplies they need, the college bookstore has offered to provide an electronic voucher.
Please begin planning now to cover your personal expenses until credit balances are made available.
Financial Aid Disbursement Q&A
- When will I receive my financial aid balance?
- Financial Aid refunds will be released by approximately the end of week 6 of the semester assuming you have been attending classes.
- How do I purchase my books?
- The College bookstore is providing a voucher. In compliance with Federal guidance book voucher amounts are based on cost of attendance and PELL and loan funds available after tuition and fees, and housing and meal plan if applicable, are paid.
- How do I handle my living expenses?
- Plan to use personal funds for the first 6 weeks.
- How do I get an exception to this policy?
- There are no exceptions. This is the College policy.
- What can I purchase with the bookstore voucher?
- Text books, school supplies, gas card, grocery card.
- How does the electronic voucher work?
- For eligible students an electronic voucher will be available at the college bookstore. Students will take their book and course material items to the checkout. The cashier will look the student up to see how much credit is available and process the order. The student will sign two (2) receipts and retain one (1) for returns purposes.
- When will I be able to use the college bookstore voucher?
- For the fall and spring semesters, vouchers are available beginning the week prior to the start of the semester and ending with the fourth week of the semester.
Vouchers are not available for the winter and summer terms.
- Is the College earning interest on financial aid funding?
- No. All colleges are barred from earning interest on financial aid funds received from the government. At this time no funds have been drawn down or received by the College; this will not take place until the 6th week of the semester. Even when funds are received they will be placed in a non-interest bearing account until they are disbursed to the students.
- When does the interest begin to accrue on your Unsubsidized Student Loan?
- Interest does not begin to accrue on Unsubsidized student loans until the loan is actually disbursed to your account. During the first weeks of the semester loans are only being originated with the federal government so that they can be quickly drawn down and disbursed in accordance with current disbursement policy of the College. No interest is accruing during this period of time.