Financial Aid for Sessions Less than Fifteen Weeks

Students who are enrolled in, or plan to enroll in, sessions that span less than 15-weeks of the standard term should take the following things into consideration in order to fully maximize their aid eligibility and understand the regulatory differences:

  • Census Date: The census date is day 29 of the term. This means that students who plan to take courses in sessions that are less than 15 weeks should register in all courses for the term (regardless of the session start/end date) before day 29 of the 15 week term’s start date in order for the course(s) to be included in that term award.

The census date for the 2021-2022 academic calendar is as follows:

  • Summer 2021- June 14, 2021
  • Fall 2021- October 5, 2021
  • Spring 2022- February 15, 2022

The census dates for 2020-2021 were as follows:

  • Summer 2020- June 8, 2020
  • Fall 2020- October 6, 2020
  • Spring 2021- February 16, 2021

For example students enrolled for any fall 2021 session (courses started on or after September 7, 2021 and end on or before December 17, 2021) should have been registered for all courses by October 5, 2021 to maximize aid eligibility. Pell eligibility for the term is fixed on day 29 of each term.


  • Delayed Disbursement of Aid: Federal and New York State regulations require that student aid funds are not disbursed during a period of non-enrollment. First disbursements will be scheduled for the session that includes first date of attendance.  Students who enroll in only the second eight weeks of a term will receive disbursements at the beginning of that session, not at the beginning of the term. For example, regulations require that you be at least half-time (6 credits for undergraduate students, 5 credits for graduate students) to be eligible for Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized loans.  If you are taking 4 credits in a fall 2021 session that begins September 7, 2021 and another 4 credits in a session that doesn’t begin until October 2021, the loans will not disburse until after October 2021.
  • Cost of Attendance Calculation: Students enrolled in sessions shorter than 15 weeks are affected differently than students enrolled for the whole term. The U.S. Department of Education requires that students who receive aid be assigned a Cost of Attendance (COA) budget for the terms they are awarded federal aid. However, Cost of Attendance cannot be assigned to periods of non-attendance. Therefore students who attend only 8 weeks of a 15 week term will receive COA for only the eight-week period. COA affects the total amount of aid that a student may receive. In some situations this will reduce the amount of student loans or other aid that a student can otherwise receive. COA could be reduced further for classes that are shorter than eight weeks.
  • New York State Aid Eligibility: The New York State Education Department stipulates that a student must be enrolled in at least 1 course that meets the 15 week requirement per term in order to be eligible for New York State aid, or enrolled (at the start of the term) in two consecutive sessions that together make up the 15 week requirement. Students taking courses in only 8-week sessions do not qualify for New York State aid.

In order to receive the maximum amount of financial aid that you may be entitled to, the Financial Aid office offers the following recommendations when enrolling:

  1. Students enrolling in sessions shorter than 15 weeks should register in all courses before the census date (29th day of class for the 15 week term).
  2. Students should either register in at least one 15 week course or two consecutive eight week courses, or a combination of both to get the full cost of attendance allowance for the term and for NYS aid eligibility.
  3. Students must begin attendance or have academic activity in each session to get aid for that session.
  4. Students registering after the census date should contact the Financial Aid Office regarding their aid eligibility.


Please also note that an enrollment is not viewed as "full-time" if a student is not enrolled in the minimum full-time credit requirement, regardless of the length of the course.  For example, a student taking 8 credits is considered half-time whether their courses span a full-length 15-week term or only an 8-week term.  

Contact Us

Fax: 518-580-4863

Mailing Address: 
Empire State College
Financial Aid
111 West Ave.
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Questions? Contact the Student Information Center at 518-587-2100 or 800-847-3000.


Code: 010286
Name: SUC Empire State College

TAP Codes

Undergraduate Associate: 0916

Undergraduate Bachelor's: 0913

Graduate: 5680 (for graduate students applying for Veteran Tuition Awards)


For students planning to enroll in terms beginning May 2021 or thereafter, please submit the 2021-2022 FAFSA.  If you are attending the summer 2021 term, the deadline to have all financial aid applications, additional financial aid requirements/documents and appeals submitted and any student loans accepted is April 16, 2021 in order ensure the processing of your aid eligibility by the summer payment deadline.

For students enrolling for the fall term 2021 please make sure you have all financial aid applications, additional financial aid requirements/documents and appeals submitted and any student loans accepted is August 2, 2021 in order ensure the processing of your aid eligibility by the fall payment deadline.

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