American Rescue Act Special Circumstance Guidance

Students with documented ‘Special Circumstances’ that negatively affects you/your family’s financial situation- such as state unemployment receipts- could be eligible for a financial aid adjustment of higher financial aid award. For example, because of COVID-19 some employers have shut down, reduced work hours, furloughed employees and others may not have been able to work due to illness. Your campus financial aid office may be able to review your special circumstances to adjust the amount of financial aid you receive or would have received.

For Graduate Professional students your family is defined as you, your spouse and any dependents of yours.  This does not include your parents finnaical situation.  (that would be for undergrad only).

If your family has experienced a change in income due to unusual, special circumstances, your campus financial aid office has Professional Judgement and U.S. Department of Education guided flexibility to re-evaluate your situation for the following reasons:

  • Loss of job or permanent/indefinite reduction of work hours
  • Separation or divorce
  • Personal bankruptcy that occurs during the current financial aid year
  • Death of a member of your immediate family
  • Reduction/loss of child support
  • High non-reimbursed medical expense.
  • You took money out of their pension/retirement plan as a one-time payment to help cover expenses
  • Other documented special circumstances outside of the student’s control

If you would like to apply for an American Rescue ACT Special Circumstance, please set up an appointment with Vito Cavallaro, Director of Financial Aid at either 212-938-5507 or by e-mail at vcavallaro@sunyopt.edu

TUITION & FEES

Choosing to study optometry is an investment in your future. Employment of optometrists, visions care specialists, and researchers will continue to be in demand to meet the growing needs of our diverse patient population and constantly changing health care environment.

For the 2023 – 2024 academic year, the SUNY College of Optometry has set the tuition and fees as follows, including housing and living expenses. 

OD Program Tuition & Fees
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For the 2023-2024 academic year, tuition and fees are as follows: (Please note, all figures are in US dollars.)

Full Time:

Tuition (in-state) $30,710.00
Tuition
(out-of-state, Canadian and foreign)
$51,660.00

Fees:

College fee $50.00
College Fee (Part-Time) Per Credit $1.70
Student activity fee $210.00
Technology fee $330.00
Foreign Student Health Insurance $2567.98
Orientation Fee (First Years Only) $85.00
Clinical Liability $50.00
3rd year students will be charged a $40 CPR fee in fall term pending- SUNY approval.

*Amounts are subject to board approval

*OD Program tuition and fees are subject to change.

Instruments: First-year students in the professional program purchase 2 sets of instruments.

The first set is approximately $1,800 and is due in July.The second set is purchased at the start of the Fall semester and  is approximately  $900-$1600(based on student choice) and is due in September.

Second year students in the professional program purchase one set of instruments. Cost is approximately $3300-$3900 (based on student choice) and is due in September.

3rd and 4th years students do not usually need to purchase any additional instruments.

Books: Each year approximately $1,100 (usually after classes start.)

Room: For the 2022-2023 academic year, a student is allowed a maximum Financial Aid allotment of $16,320 for rent. The average rent for a student living in walking distance to the college is $1,300 per month. The average rent for a student commuting by subway is $800 per month.

Board: For the 2022-2023 academic year, a student is allowed a maximum Financial Aid allotment of $7,200 for food and household supplies (including utilities and phone.)

Other Living Expenses: For the 2022-2023 academic year, the student is allowed a maximum Financial Aid allotment of $6,330 for all other expenses. Actual amounts spent will vary depending on a student’s personal preferences. It is recommended that a student make arrangements to have two months living expenses available for start-up costs.

Graduate Program Tuition & Fees
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For the 2022-2023 academic year, tuition and fees for the Graduate Program are as follows: (Please note, all figures are in US dollars).

Full-time:

Tuition per semester
(in-state)
$5,655.00
Tuition per semester
(out-of-state, Canadian and foreign)
$11,550.00

Part Time:

Tuition per credit
(in-state)
$471.00
Tuition per credit
(out-of-state, Canadian and foreign)
$963.00

Fees:

College fee $50.00
College Fee (Part-Time) Per Credit $1.70
Technology fee $330.00
Student Activity Fee $81.00
Foreign Student Health Insurance $2567.98
Medical Evacuation/Repatriation Rider $90

Out-of-state U.S. citizens may be eligible for in-state resident tuition after their first year.

*OD/MS: Students who are accepted into the OD/MS program do not pay any additional tuition for the MS degree portion during the four years they are enrolled in the OD program.

*OD/PhD: Students who are accepted into the OD/PhD program do not pay any additional tuition for the PhD program during the first two years they are enrolled full time in the OD program.

*Graduate tuition and fees are subject to change.

Tuition Waivers & Graduate Assistantships
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All eligible full-time Ph.D. students receive tuition waivers. Teaching and research assistantships are awarded to eligible full-time Ph.D. students. As of April 2019, the current graduate assistantship stipend level is $35,670 per year. Graduate students with an OD degree and a NYS optometric license may also apply for part-time clinical appointments.

FINANCIAL AID

Most SUNY students fund their education through educational loans, grants and scholarships.

US Citizens and Permanent Residents

US citizens and permanent residents applying for financial aid will be required to submit the following:

  1. SUNY Optometry Application for Financial Aid.
  2. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Federal school code is 009929.
  3. A signed copy of student’s federal tax forms is required. A signed copy of parents’ federal tax forms may be required, or certification of non-filing status when applicable.*
  4. Proof of non-taxable income as indicated on the application may be required.

*All graduate and professional students are considered independent. Parental information is required, however, to be considered for tuition waiver programs, HPSL loans and LDS loans.

The Financial Aid Office reserves the right to request additional information and documentation as appropriate.

The application deadline for financial aid is April 15 for the following academic year.

Canadian Students

Canadian students applying for financial aid are required to contact the Canadian Student Loan Program directly for information and applications.

Please note: Financial Aid cannot be disbursed until you have enrolled in August. Instrument expenses and start-up living expenses will not come from Financial Aid. Most Financial Aid is only available to US citizens or permanent residents.

FAFSA
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FAFSA

Most SUNY students fund their education through educational loans, grants and scholarships.

US Citizens and Permanent Residents

US citizens and permanent residents applying for financial aid will be required to submit the following:

  1. SUNY Optometry Application for Financial Aid.
  2. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Federal school code is 009929.
  3. A signed copy of student’s federal tax forms is required. A signed copy of parents’ federal tax forms may be required, or certification of non-filing status when applicable.*
  4. Proof of non-taxable income as indicated on the application may be required.

*All graduate and professional students are considered independent. Parental information is required, however, to be considered for tuition waiver programs, HPSL loans and LDS loans.

The Financial Aid Office reserves the right to request additional information and documentation as appropriate.

The application deadline for financial aid is April 15 for the following academic year.

Canadian Students

Canadian students applying for financial aid are required to contact the Canadian Student Loan Program directly for information and applications.

Please note: Financial Aid cannot be disbursed until you have enrolled in August. Instrument expenses and start-up living expenses will not come from Financial Aid. Most Financial Aid is only available to US citizens or permanent residents.

Loans
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Loans

Educational loans are generally lower interest alternatives to market rate loans. Many have federal or state subsidies and delayed interest and/or principal repayments until after the academic program is completed. Stafford, Perkins and Health Professions Loan + LDS Programs require the student to qualify through the Need Analysis Process.

Health Professions Student Loans:
Qualified students may be awarded $250 to $4,000 at 5% interest. Parental information is used to determine eligibility.

Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS):
Qualified students may be awarded between $250 to $3,000 each year at 5% interest. Parental information is used to determine eligibility.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans:
Up to $40,500 per year (minus the amount the student qualified for in the subsidized Stafford Loan) is available. Interest rate varies each year.

Federal Direct Graduate Plus Loan:

The Graduate PLUS Loan is a non-need-based loan offered through the Federal Government.  This loan is used to meet any additional need after other loans are awarded.

Emergency Loans:
$500 to $1,000 emergency loans are available to students who experience delays in processing financial aid. These loans are limited to availability and can only be given to students who are awaiting financial aid.

Scholarships
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Scholarships

Scholarships are generally awarded on the basis of meritorious academic performance, need or a combination of both. Scholarships do not need to be repaid. We select scholarship recipients based primarily on their undergraduate GPA and OAT score for 1st years and academic performance at SUNY Optometry for 2nd, 3rd and 4th years.

Alumni Scholarships:
Awarded to a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year student with High Financial Need and in good academic standing. The scholarship may also be awarded to a 1st year student who is deemed by the Financial Aid Director to be the best candidate, based on his/her undergraduate record and financial need.

Cultural Diversity Scholarship:
To be eligible for a Cultural Diversity Scholarship, a student must submit an essay and a Cultural Diversity Scholarship Application, each demonstrating how they can contribute to the diversity of the student body.

Dr. Mark S. Feder Scholarship for Clinical Excellence in Primary:
Awarded to a 4th year student for Clinical Excellence In Primary Care. Chosen by the Primary care faculty at SUNY.

Fred Friedfeld Memorial Scholarship:
Awarded to a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year student with Financial Need and academic merit. The scholarship may also be awarded to a 1st year student who is deemed by the Financial Aid Director to be the best candidate, based on his/her undergraduate record and financial need.

The Scott Tasker Folsom Scholarship Fund:
Dr. and Mrs. William Folsom have executed a trust to establish a permanent scholarship(s) on behalf of their son, to be known as the Scott Tasker Folsom Scholarship(s). The trust is a permanent endowment, the income from which will fund the scholarship(s) for professional students in optometry. Students will be automatically considered once they complete their first year.

Dennis and Lesley Gehr Scholarship:
Awarded to top 1st year student from CUNY based on Admissions recommendation.

Mary and Samuel Gurkin Memorial Scholarship:
Awarded to a student who has shown the most involvement in community service and service to the College Community.

P. Gregory Hess Scholarship:
Awarded to a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year student with Financial Need and a minimum GPA of 2.7. The scholarship may also be awarded to a 1st year student who is deemed by the Financial Aid Director to be the best candidate, based on his/her undergraduate record and financial need.

Dr. Sanford and Claire Levy Scholarship:
Each year up to 5 students from the Central New York area will receive a scholarship. Counties eligible have been determined by the Foundation of Central New York. If more then 5 students are from eligible counties GPA will be used to determine eligibility.

Dr. Nathan and Laura Millman Scholarship:
One to two scholarships are given annually to a second, third or fourth year student based on outstanding academic performance. Students will be automatically considered once they complete their first year.

Milton Scholarship:
Awarded to a 1st 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year student with Financial Need and academic merit. Once a student is chosen for this award in the first year it is the donors with that they continue to receive the award for each successive year as long as the student maintains satisfactory academic progress.

Dr. Alden Haffner NYSOA Scholarship:
Two $2,000 scholarships are given to a third-year student with good academic standing and essay. To apply for the scholarship, please fill out the NYSOA Scholarship Application.

New Jersey Optometric Association Scholarship:
One $2000 scholarship awarded to a 1st year student with Financial Need and a minimum GPA of 2.7 who is a resident of New Jersey.

OCNY Board Scholarships:
Depending on funding, 15-20 $2,000 OCNY scholarships are given to students with academic merit and financial need. Students will be automatically considered once they complete their first semester at SUNY Optometry.

Petry Lomb Scholarship/Research Grant:
The foundation awards scholarship money to second, third and fourth-year students demonstrating financial need, good academic standing and a sincere desire to contribute to the optometric profession. One to two scholarships are awarded annually in varying amounts (minimum $1,500 per recipient.) Preference is given to New York State residents.

Applications are available at the Rochester Optometric Society, under the student section.

Questions may be directed to:
Dr. Stephanie Su, c/o Petry-Lomb
2277 South Union Street
Spencerport, NY 14559
E-mail: petrylomb@gmail.com

Walman Scholarship
Students in 2,3, and 4th year are available and Walman encourages students of color to apply. See details below.
learnmore.scholarsapply.org/walman/

NOA Scholarship Opportunities:
Please see link for details: mynosa.com/scholarship

Barbara Saltzman Scholarship:
Awarded to top 1st year student based on Admissions recommendation.

Philip and Sylvia Soden Memorial Scholarship:
Awarded to a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year student with Financial Need and a minimum GPA of 2.7. The scholarship may also be awarded to a 1st year student who is deemed by the Financial Aid Director to be the best candidate, based on his/her undergraduate record and financial need.

Harold Solan Memorial Scholarship:
Awarded to a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year student with Financial Need and a minimum GPA of 2.7. The scholarship may also be awarded to a 1st year student who is deemed by the Financial Aid Director to be the best candidate, based on his/her undergraduate record and financial need.

Harold M. Spielman Scholarship:
Awarded to top 1st year student from CCNY or CUNY based on Admissions recommendation.

The Dr. Jerome Weiss Scholarship Fund:
Dr. and Mrs. Jerome Weiss, distinguished friends of the College, from Syracuse, New York, have established an endowment, the income from which will support one or more scholarships for professional students in optometry. Students will be automatically considered once they enroll.

Jeff White Memorial Scholarship:
Awarded to a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year student with Financial Need and a minimum GPA of 2.7. The scholarship may also be awarded to a 1st year student who is deemed by the Financial Aid Director to be the best candidate, based on his/her undergraduate record and financial need

Presidential Award for International Students (PAIS) Scholarship:
As a global leader in optometric education, the SUNY College of Optometry seeks to attract talented international candidates who will contribute to the vibrant campus community. PAIS recipients are transformative leaders who have demonstrated the potential to contribute significantly to the SUNY Optometry and broader global optometric communities. Candidates for the President’s Award for International Students must be citizens of a country other than the U.S., demonstrate outstanding academic performance at the undergraduate level, and possess the vital leadership qualities warranted in an ever-growing health profession.

Outside Scholarships
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Welcome OD students:

I know that finances are tight for most students and loans play a major role in the Financial Aid Process. In order to help our students locate possilbe out side scholarships I am recommending the following links:

American Academy of Optometry (AAO) Scholarship Opportunities.
Please see scholarship opportunities here.

CooperVision Student Leadership Societies offer travel grants and stipends to enhance optometric education. Please see opportunities here.

Dr. Frank D. Fontana Memorial Scholarship
The Heart of America Eye Care Congress, in partnership with VSP Global created this scholarship in honor of optometrist Dr. Frank D. Fontana. Third and fourth-year optometry students actively engaged in patient care are eligible. www.hoaecc.org/frank-fontana-scholarship.cfm

The VSP Premier Edge Student Business Challenge
This scholarship opportunity is for optometry students interested in a path to private practice ownership. In collaboration with the Association of Practice Management Educators (APME) and Student Optometric Leadership Network (SOLN), the VSP Premier Edge Student Business Challenge asks applicants to submit a business plan that describes their professional and personal plan to private practice ownership. www.vspproviderhub.com/scholarships.html

Fast Web: Fastweb is a free scholarship search platform that connects students to scholarships and financial aid tools. Our goal is to help you find scholarships to make school more affordable.
https://www.fastweb.com

ASCO: Link for the optometriceducation.org/future-students

Walman Scholarship
Students in 2,3, and 4th year are available and Walman encourages students of color to apply. See details below.
learnmore.scholarsapply.org/walman/

The Hebrew Free Loan Society advances economic stability and opportunity for lower income New Yorkers within and beyond the Jewish community by making safe, affordable interest-free loans.
https://hfls.org/apply-for-a-scholarship/

Petry Lomb Scholarship/Research Grant:
The foundation awards scholarship money to second, third and fourth-year students demonstrating financial need, good academic standing and a sincere desire to contribute to the optometric profession. One to two scholarships are awarded annually in varying amounts (minimum $1,500 per recipient.) Preference is given to New York State residents.

Applications are available at the Rochester Optometric Society, under the student section.

Questions may be directed to:
Dr. Stephanie Su, c/o Petry-Lomb
2277 South Union Street
Spencerport, NY 14559

E-mail: petrylomb@gmail.com

NOA Scholarship Opportunities:
Please see link for details: mynosa.com/scholarship

Optometry Cares – AOA Foundation

  • Optometry Cares Student Scholarships – Optometry Cares (aoafoundation.org)
  • Bernard Maitenaz Scholarship ($10,000)
    • Increasing public awareness about the importance of early and often eye exams is vital to children’s eye and vision health. One of the major ways to directly communicate with parents and caregivers is through social media. The $10,000 scholarship will be awarded to the creator of the social media toolkit judged to be the best submitted to Optometry Cares, in accordance with the criteria listed. Please note that all materials must be in alignment with the AOA’s Pediatric Eye and Vision Examination guideline.
    • Scholarship is based upon a Social Medial Toolkit: Infographics and 2-minute video promoting the importance of early pediatric eye care.
    • OD3 Students ONLY.
  • Dr. Seymour Galina Scholarship ($2500)
    • Essay-Based Scholarship
    • OD3 Students ONLY
  • Dr. Larry J. Alexander Scholarship ($2500)
    • Essay-Based Scholarship
    • OD3 Students ONLY
  • Deadline: October 31st, 2023

AOA/AOSA Opportunities in Optometry Grants

  • AOA/AOSA Opportunities in Optometry Grants – Optometry Cares (aoafoundation.org)
  • Must be a US citizen, permanent resident or DACA recipient
  • Must be a member of one of the following ethnic groups that are currently underrepresented in the optometry professions when compared to overall representation in the United States: African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino or Native American/Alaska Native
  • Must be a student at a four-year, accredited institution within the US, carrying the minimum requirements as stated for program per semester/quarter, or have completed undergraduate degree with optometry prerequisites
  • *A 2.75 or greater GPA is suggested (if you do not meet this requirement, please see the application checklist below.

Oculus Scholarship

Dr. Marvin R. Poston Leadership Awards:

George Comstock Scholarship:

Leslie Mintz Foundation Scholarship:

  • The Dr. Leslie Mintz Scholarship is awarded annually to an optometry school student or students who possess academic excellence, financial need, and the desire to serve the profession of optometry as did Dr. Leslie Mintz
  • The amount of each scholarship award can fluctuate based upon the yearly performance of the scholarship endowment fund; however, the scholarships can range up to $2500 per recipient. The total number and amount of scholarships awarded each year varies based upon the number of qualified applicants. Applications are available under the Student Section tab at www.njsop.org and are due January 15th
  • Applicants must intend to practice in NJ and must satisfy at least one of the following three criteria: Have a current legal address in NJ — Be a member of the student New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians organization should your optometry school have such an organization. — Previously resided in New Jersey within the past 10 years.
  • https://www.njsop.org/aws/njsop/asset_manager/get_file/181869?ver=2264

National Vision Scholarship

  • National Vision Scholarship Program (eyesoneyecare.com)
  • National Vision is asking third- and fourth-year optometry students to share their perspective on “Increasing Access to Eye Care for Children” for a chance to win a $7,500 scholarship!
  • First Place: $7500
  • Runner Up: $2500
  • Runner Up: $2500
  • Write a 500-word essay or create a short video (maximum length: 5 minutes)
  • Deadline: February 5th, 2024
Grants
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Grants

Grants are given to students generally on the basis of financial need. Grants do not need to be repaid.

Economically Disadvantaged First Professional Degree Students Program:
The State University of New York awards between $500 and $5,000 based on funding and eligibility determined from the SUNY College of Optometry. Students must download a Financial Aid Form and a Needs Analysis Form from FAFSA.ed.gov.

Graduate Opportunity Waiver:
Partial tuition waivers are granted by the State University of New York to students who have participated in an undergraduate opportunity program such as EOP, HEOP or SEEK. Determination is based on the Needs Analysis Form and eligibility requirements.

Student Employment
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Student Employment

The College offers part-time employment with flexible hours scheduled around the Academic Program for students.

College Work Study:
Students can earn between $500 to $4,000 annually based on need while working at the College.

College Temporary Service Employment:
Although not awarded as financial aid, students can be employed by an individual officer or by a faculty researcher with College funds.

Housing
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Financial Planning
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Financial Planning

SUNY Smart Track Financial Literacy Website
Financial Literacy training and tools brought to you by SUNY and the University at Albany

SUNY Smart Track, Empowered Financial Planning. Smart money management is key to a bright financial future. From banking and budgeting to identifying theft and student loans, learn what you need to know. Take 30 seconds to click the SUNY Smart Track button and create an account. Use the entire program or pick and choose!

SUNY Smart Track is an online learning environment that empowers students for a lifetime of financial success. The interactive financial aid literacy tools can assist students to achieve smart money management skills. Courses and modules cover topics that include budgeting, credit cards, identify theft, paying for college, banking, debt, working in college, and savings.

HEERF Student Aid Funds
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Veterans Affairs Student Financial Aid
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Veterans Benefits

SUNY College of Optometry is committed to serving students who have served our country as members of the military. The Office of Student Affairs will work in collaboration with various offices on campus including admissions, bursar, financial aid, registrar and career counseling to obtain the services & benefits necessary to successfully complete the Doctor of Optometry program.

In accordance with Title 38 US Code 3679 subsection (e) SUNY College of Optometry adopts the following provisions for any student using U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Post 9/11 GI Bill (Ch. 33) or Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Ch. 31) benefits, while payment to the institution is pending from the VA. SUNY Optometry WILL NOT:

  • Prevent nor delay the student’s enrollment;
  • Assess a late penalty fee to the student; (Deferments will be granted by the Financial Aid Office)
  • Require the student to secure alternative or additional funding;
  • Deny the student access to any resources available to the students who have satisfied their tuition and fee bills to the institution, including the library, classes, all labs and facilities. They will have the same rights and services available to any SUNY Optometry student considered paid in full.

In order to receive Veteran’s Benefits at the College a student must complete the following requirements:

  • Produce the Certificate of Eligibility, by the first day of class;
  • Provide written request to be certified;
  • Provide additional information needed to properly certify the enrollment as may be needed by other institutional policies.

Veterans and/or their dependents, eligible to receive VA education benefits, should contact the Financial Aid and Registrar’s Office below as they will be able to assist you with Academic Counseling, Financial counseling, Disability counseling and any other information regarding completing a course of education at SUNY College of Optometry:

Financial Aid Office
Vito Cavallaro Asst. VP for Student Affairs/Dir. Of Financial
Aid 212-938-5507
vito@sunyopt.edu

Registrar’s Office
Jacqueline Martinez
College Registrar
212-938-5509
jmartinez@sunyopt.edu

Please visit the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs website to obtain more information about benefits at https://benefits.va.gov/gibill/

Dear Enrolled VA Students,

We are pleased to inform you that as a graduate student at our institution, you may be eligible for Federal financial aid that is not administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

While the VA offers a range of financial assistance programs to eligible veterans, there are also federal student aid programs that may be available to you as a graduate student. These programs include:

  1. Direct Unsubsidized Loans: Graduate students may be eligible for Direct Unsubsidized Loans, which are federal student loans that do not require financial need. You can borrow up to a certain amount each year, and the interest rates are fixed.
  2. Direct PLUS Loans: Graduate students may also be eligible for Direct PLUS Loans, which are federal loans that can help cover the cost of your education. These loans require a credit check, and you can borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received.
  3. Federal Work-Study Program: The Federal Work-Study Program provides part-time employment opportunities for eligible students, allowing you to earn money to help pay for your education. You can work on or off campus, and the work can be related to your field of study.

To apply for these federal student aid programs, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application will determine your eligibility for federal financial aid based on your financial need and other factors. We will also evaluate all veteran students for grants based aid based on state regulations and any College Scholarships based on Merit before awarding any Federal Student Loans.

We encourage you to explore all of your options for financing your graduate education, including both VA and federal financial aid programs. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our Financial Aid Office.

Thank you for choosing our institution for your graduate education, and we look forward to supporting your academic pursuits.