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Need Help Paying for College?

There are many sources of aid available to students attending Suffolk. Federal Title IV Financial Aid includes; Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Federal Work Student and William D. Ford Direct Loans. Financial Aid can also include scholarships and other employment opportunities. New York State aid includes, but is not limited to, the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), Aid for Part-Time Study (APTS) and the Excelsior Scholarship.  Please visit the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) website for more scholarship and grant opportunities.

Also, do not forget about the various federal and state tax deductions and saving incentives available for attending college; and the benefits available if you are a veteran.

For more information see below:

Pell Grant

  • Range from $767 to $7,395 for the 2023-2024 academic year
  • Must demonstrate financial need
  • Amount of grant based on income, assets, family size, family members in college and enrollment status
  • Available to students taking at least one credit in degree or certificate program
  • There is a lifetime limit of 12 semesters of Pell Grant eligibility
  • Disbursements for Books and Supplies: Students who receive a Pell Grant in excess of tuition and fees may utilize a school credit in the campus bookstore. If a student does not utilize the school credit a refund will be sent directly to the student. A student can opt out of this credit by notifying the campus Financial Aid Office in writing. 

Excelsior Scholarship

New York State tuition free degree program, the Excelsior Scholarship is intended to supplement all current aid programs, including but not limited to TAP, PELL and other scholarships. Students can receive up to $5,500 from the scholarship, minus any amounts received from TAP, PELL, or other scholarships. It will provide assistance to students to cover any tuition gaps and make college tuition free. The scholarship makes college possible for students across the state and helps to alleviate the crushing burden of student debt. Students apply through New York State and applications will be available in late May. For additional information, visit the HESC website. Students are responsible for paying fees.

Applicants must:

  • Be resident of New York State;
  • Plan to attend a SUNY or CUNY two- or four-year degree program;
  • Take 30 credits per year and make progress toward graduation;
  • Maintain good academic standing;
  • Be on track to graduate on time with an Associate Degree in two years or a Bachelor’s Degree in four years; and
  • Be a New York State resident whose family household adjusted gross income (as filed on your federal tax return) does not exceed $125,000.

Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)

  • Annual awards range to $5,665 per year
  • Students must be taking at least 6 credits per semester.
  • Eligibility is determined by the family's New York State Net Taxable Income of the prior year (up to $80,000)

Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

  • Awards range from $100 to $2,000 per academic year
  • Students must demonstrate exceptional financial need

Aid for Part-Time Study (APTS)

  • Awards range from $100 to $1,000 per semester
  • Students must be enrolled for between 3-11 credits, and must take at least one 3-credit college level course
  • Eligibility is determined by the family's New York State Net Taxable Income for the prior year

Part-time Scholarship (PTS) Award Program

The New York State Part-time Scholarship award provides tuition awards to students attending SUNY or CUNY community colleges who are enrolled part-time each semester. Recipients of the PTS award will receive an award that covers the cost of six credit hours or $1,500 per term, whichever is less. An award recipient is entitled to award payments for not more than four consecutive academic semesters. Students apply through New York State. For additional information, visit the HESC website.

Applicants must:

  • Be resident of New York State;
  • Plan to attend a SUNY or CUNY college;
  • Be enrolled in at least six but less than 12 credits per term; and
  • Maintain cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher.

Federal Work Study

  • Hourly wage ranges from $15.00 to $15.50 per hour
  • Provides part-time employment during the academic year
  • Jobs may be on campus or at off-campus locations that provide public service to our community
  • Students may tutor in elementary schools through the America Reads or America Counts Programs.

William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program

The Federal Direct Loan Programs (subsidized/unsubsidized) enable students (or parents) to borrow funds from the federal government to help with educational costs. Under the subsidized loan program, the federal government pays the interest while the student is enrolled and during their grace period. Unsubsidized loans are available regardless of financial need. Interest begins to accrue on the day the loan is disbursed, and the student is responsible for interest accrued during in school and grace periods. Interest payments can be paid monthly, quarterly, or be capitalized by the lender and added to the loan principal.

Students may apply for a loan if they are enrolled in at least a half-time status (6 credits or more) in their program of study.

  • Dependent freshman may borrow up to a maximum of $5,500 per year, the maximum increases to $6,500 for sophomores (must have completed at least 32 credits at Suffolk County Community College). The maximum subsidized loan amounts are $3,500 and $4,500 respectively, additional funds would be unsubsidized.
  • Independent freshman may borrow up to a maximum of $9,500 per year, the maximum increases to $10,500 for sophomores (must have completed at least 32 credits at Suffolk County Community College). The maximum subsidized loan amounts are $3,500 and $4,500 respectively, additional funds would be unsubsidized.
  • Loans proceeds are disbursed in two installments, generally one in the Fall term and one in the Spring term.
  • Loan repayment begins six months after a borrower graduates, withdraws or ceases attending half time.
  • For more information regarding loan repayment and an estimate of your estimated monthly payments, visit
  • Students who are not automatically offered a student loan may still request one by completing the Student Loan Request/Adjustment from on our website and submitting to their campus financial aid office for eligibility determination
  • First time borrowers must complete an entrance interview and a Master Promissory Note at
  • The Department of Education will send borrowers a loan disclosure notice which indicates your loan approval and/or denial as well as the type and amounts of your loans.

Federal Parent Loan (PLUS)

  • Parents of a dependent student enrolled at least half-time can borrow the cost of the student’s education less any financial aid awarded
  • Interest accrues when the loan is received
  • Repayment begins within 60 days of the loan disbursement
  • Parents and student must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine what other types of federal aid may be available
  • After student has received the results of the FAFSA, student must file the PLUS Loan Request
  • Students must be in good academic standing and maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards.

Exit Interview

Upon completing your studies or ceasing half-time enrollment, you must complete an exit interview. This may be done at or in person at your campus financial aid office. The exit interview covers:

  • average anticipated monthly repayment amounts
  • repayment plan options
  • options to prepay or pay on shorter schedule
  • the seriousness and importance of the student’s repayment obligation
  • terms and conditions for forgiveness or cancellation
  • rights and responsibilities of students under Title IV, HEA loan programs
  • terms and conditions for deferment or forbearance
  • consequences of default
  • options and consequences of loan consolidation
  • tax benefits available to borrowers

If you encounter a problem in loan collection or other matters, please be aware that the U.S. Department of Education has established the FSA Ombudsman for student loan borrowers. This office may be contacted at:

U.S. Department of Education
FSA Ombudsman
830 First Street, N.E.
Fourth Floor
Washington, DC 20202-5144
Phone: (877) 557-2575
Fax: (202) 275-0549

American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), more parents and students will qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit to help pay for college expenses.

The American Opportunity Tax Credit is a modification of the existing Hope Credit. The AOTC makes credit available to a broader range of taxpayers, including many with higher incomes and those who owe no tax. It also adds required course materials to the list of qualifying expenses and allows the credit to be claimed for four post-secondary education years instead of two. Many of those eligible will qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student.

The full credit is available to individuals, whose modified adjusted gross income is $80,000 or less, or $160,000 or less for married couples filing a joint return. The credit is phased out for taxpayers with incomes above these levels. Unlike the other education tax credits, the AOTC includes expenses for course-related books, supplies and equipment that are not necessarily paid to the educational institution. It also differs from the Hope scholarship credit because it allows the credit to be claimed for four years of post-secondary education instead of two.

It is a tax credit of up to $2,500 of the cost of tuition, fees and course materials paid during the taxable year. Also, 40% of the credit (up to $1,000) is refundable. This means you can get it even if you owe no tax. For the AOTC, qualified expenses have been expanded to include expenditures for course materials, as well as tuition and required fees. For this purpose, the term "course materials" means books, supplies and equipment needed for a course of study whether or not the materials are purchased from the educational institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended the AOTC for five years through December 2017. If you still have questions about the American Opportunity Tax Credit, these questions and answers might help.

Lifetime Learning Credit

The lifetime learning credit helps parents and students pay for post-secondary education.

For the tax year, you may be able to claim a lifetime learning credit of up to $2,000 for qualified education expenses paid for all students enrolled in eligible educational institutions. There is no limit on the number of years the lifetime learning credit can be claimed for each student. However, a taxpayer cannot claim both the American Opportunity Credit and Lifetime Learning Credits for the same student in one year. Thus, the Lifetime Learning Credit may be particularly helpful to graduate students, students who are only taking one course and those who are not pursuing a degree.

Generally, you can claim the lifetime learning credit if all three of the following requirements are met:

  1. You pay qualified education expenses of higher education.
  2. You pay the education expenses for an eligible student.
  3. The eligible student is yourself, your spouse or a dependent for which you claim an exemption on your tax return.

If you pay qualified education expenses for more than one student in the same year, you can choose to take credits on a per-student, per-year basis. This means that, for example, you can claim the American Opportunity Credit for one student and the Lifetime Learning Credit for another student in the same year.

529 Plan (New York Saves)

New York, like most states offers a 529 Plan which is designed to assist people in saving for college costs. The plan allows you to contribute funds to an account for a beneficiary for educational related expenses, including tuition and fees and certain room and board cost. The funds are managed by Vanguard, and the account owner can choose from a range of investment options.

There are numerous tax benefits available to plan participants. The earnings grow federally tax deferred. Qualified withdrawals are federally tax-free. New York State taxpayers may be eligible to deduct up to $5,000 in annual contributions ($10,000 for married filers) on their New Your State tax return. Additional information is available on their website at