Frequently Asked Questions




What does "EFC" mean?
The information that you provide on your FAFSA will determine your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is an estimate of what the federal government thinks you can afford to pay for educational expenses. It is NOT a guarantee of what your family will actually pay.

How do I qualify as an independent student?
Independence is defined by federal law. A student is automatically considered independent if they:

  • are 24 years old by December 31 of the award year
  • are a veteran of the US Armed Forces or are engaged in active duty
  • are a graduate student (i.e. enrolled in a Masters or Doctoral Program)
  • became an orphan, ward of the court or were placed in foster care after the age of 13
  • are in a legal guardianship
  • are verified as being at risk of being homeless
  • are married at the time the FAFSA is signed
  • have legal dependents other than a spouse that they provide more than half of the support for

Independence cannot be granted to a student who chooses not to speak to their parents or if the parent refuses to provide financial information. Additionally, a student is not automatically independent because they have been "on their own" for several years. On a case by case basis, personnel in the Financial Aid office may review unusual circumstances to determine if unusual circumstances exist and adequate documentation has been provided in order to consider a student independent.

What if my family has special financial circumstances?
In some cases the FAFSA does not accurately depict the family's current financial condition. Sometimes certain unforeseen circumstances occur, such as unemployment or major health issues, that are beyond the family's control. A financial aid counselor can work with you and your family to determine if the information reported on your FAFSA is an accurate indication of the family's ability to contribute toward educational costs. Under certain circumstances the counselor may be able to use their professional judgment to amend certain data. Documentation will be requested.

Does work study get applied to my student bill?
No, work study is paid directly to the student like a paycheck.

Why is my total "cost of attendance" different than my bill?
The cost of attendance is not the same as your bill. It is an estimate of what your overall cost to attend college will be so that your eligibility for grants and loan amounts can be determined. The student bill includes tuition, fees, room and board, but there are other college-related expenses in your cost of attendance that you may incur that are not paid to the school (i.e. books, transportation).

Are books or transportation included in my student bill?
No. Books, transportation and other miscellaneous expenses must be paid for separately. These expenses are included in your cost of attendance (also called your budget). Your cost of attendance is the amount used to calculate the maximum amount of financial aid that you can be awarded.

Will I lose my financial aid if I withdraw from school?
You should consult the financial aid office prior to withdrawing from school to fully understand the consequences to your financial aid for the current term and also to find out if it puts you at risk of losing your eligibility for future terms. If you "unofficially" withdraw (stop attending all your classes without completing the withdrawal forms), your financial aid may be returned and you could be responsible for a significant amount due to the College.

How does failing or withdrawing from a class affect my financial aid?
Dropping a class after the add/drop deadline could affect your current term charges if your enrollment drops below full time (12 credits). Excessive withdrawals after the add/drop deadline and/or excessive F grades can adversely affect your satisfactory academic progress which could jeopardize future aid eligibility.

When will I get my financial aid refund?
Students are eligible to receive financial aid refunds when the total of their grants, loans, scholarships and payments exceed the amount due to the college. Refunds for new students are processed no sooner than 30 days after the start of classes. Returning student refunds may be processed roughly 3 weeks after the start of classes.

Can I use my refund to purchase books before I receive my check?
SUNY Cobleskill offers students early access to their financial aid refunds to purchase books and supplies from the Barnes and Noble bookstore on campus. Students are encouraged to stop by the Student Accounts Office in Knapp Hall and complete a bookstore credit memo form

How do parents apply for a PLUS loan?
Parents (adoptive, biological or step) of eligible students can apply for a PLUS loan online at Another option is to fill out and sign the Parent PLUS Loan application and return it to the Financial Aid office.

Does Cobleskill offer any scholarships?
The SUNY Cobleskill Foundation offers a limited amount of scholarships to new and returning students. A scholarship application is available online between April 1 and May 15. Students with a minimum GPA of 2.5 are eligible to apply. Meeting the scholarship criteria does not guaranty receipt of a scholarship.

Does Cobleskill offer a payment plan?
SUNY Cobleskill offers a monthly payment beginning in June for the Fall semester and November for the Spring semester. Please visit the Student Accounts webpage for more information.

What does "verification" mean?
Approximately 30% of FAFSA filers are selected for verification by the US Department of Education. Verification is the process whereby the information provided in your FAFSA application must be verified. Students selected for verification will be asked to provide specific documentation to the Financial Aid Office in order for their federal aid to be processed. All parents and students are encouraged to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool within the FAFSA in order to expedite the verification process. More information about the verification process is available on the Financial Aid website.

How do I get a tax return transcript from the IRS?
Students selected for verification will be required to provide wage and tax documentation to the Financial Aid Office. Using the IRS Data Retrieval tool will eliminate the need to provide any further documentation. Students or parents unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool will have to request tax transcripts from or by calling the IRS at 1-800-908-9946. The Financial Aid Office can no longer accept copies of tax returns.

Contact Us:
SUNY Cobleskill Student
Financial Services
118B Knapp Hall
Cobleskill, NY 12043

Office Hours:
Mon-Fri 7:30am - 3:30pm

Financial Aid:
Student Accounts: