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Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
Understanding Your SUNY ESF Financial Aid Package

At ESF, we work hard to keep costs as affordable as possible for students and families. We believe in the value of an ESF education – evidenced by the ESF academic and student life experience and the strong outcomes of our recent graduates and alumni. We hope you will choose to join the ESF community.

This page is designed to help you understand the information provided in Financial Aid Award Packages, provide important guidance on associated Terms and Conditions, and list actions that will need to be taken.

How to Access and View Your Financial Aid Package

Important Note: Your ESF Financial Aid Package is not a bill. Enrolled students will receive billing information from ESF and Syracuse University this summer. Your bills will include more details about charges and what you may need to pay ESF or Syracuse University.

New incoming students will receive an initial paper financial aid letter in the mail and can access the aid package online. Subsequent aid packages and revisions will be available online. All students will receive an e-mail notification when a new aid package is available or when an existing aid package has been modified. When a notification is received, students should access their financial aid information through the MyESF portal.

Financial Aid and billing activity will be primarily handled online through the MyESF (ESF) and the MySlice (SU) portals. Your credentials (usernames and passwords) for these portals will be separate and unique.

Access to MyESF is done with the ESFiD, which is created as part of the Admissions Process. Access to the MySlice portal is done using an SU NetID, which is created as part of the New Student Checklist.

For support information, please visit

  • Login to the MyESF Portal at

  • Select "Financial Aid Information" from the navigation menu.

  • In the Financial Aid section, use the tabs along the top of the page to view information.

  • Review the list of requirements on the "Home" tab and complete any outstanding items.

  • Use the "Award Offer" tab to review your aid package and provide responses as needed.

  • If accepting any self-help aid, return to the "Home" tab after submitting the response to review any new requirements added based on your response.

  • Use the links on the "Award Offer" tab or use the "College Financing Plan" tab to view consolidated and printable versions of the aid package. Note that responses cannot be provided through these formats.

Your aid package is designed to help you plan for paying ESF expenses.

Cost of Attendance
The Cost of Attendance is an estimated and subject- to-change budget of educational and essential living expenses associated with attending college. Each item will be listed individually and categorized as "Direct Costs" or "Indirect Costs." These will simply show what expenses are likely (direct) to appear on a bill from ESF or SU and those that are not likely (indirect) to appear on a bill. These expenses will also be totaled and listed as the Overall Cost of Attendance. This total represents the maximum amount of financial aid, from all sources, that a student can receive.

Grants & Scholarships
Free money! These types of aid do not need to be repaid. Awards will be listed individually and display either actual or estimated amounts for each semester and the total for the year. Certain awards may be estimated to assist with planning and will be updated at a later time once the amounts are confirmed. For the most part, no action is required in order to receive a confirmed grant or scholarship. However, estimated aid sources, in particular aid from New York State (TAP, STEM, Excelsior, etc.), require completion of the appropriate applications before the award will be confirmed. New York State aid applications can be completed at

Net Cost
This will show the difference between the estimated Cost of Attendance and the total amount awarded/ estimated in Grant & Scholarships. Net Cost provides an estimate of your remaining expenses.

Options to Help Pay Your Net Cost
Also known as "self-help aid," these are potential funding sources that students/parents can elect to use to help with expenses. Aid sources that may be listed are Federal Direct Student Loans (Stafford Loans), Federal Direct Parent Loans (PLUS), and Federal Work-Study options. Responses of "accept" or "decline" are required for each item. If you choose to utilize direct loans to assist with expenses, borrow only the amount you need.

Next Steps

  • Review the Cost of Attendance and aid offers. Check for any possible errors with housing, state residency, or other information that may impact your costs or eligibility.

  • Review information about the aid sources included. Visit,, and as good starting points!

  • Accept or decline the forms of self-help aid you plan to use. These decisions can also be made throughout the year if you are not sure what you would like to do.

  • Review the list of requirements on the "Home" page of the Financial Aid section of the MyESF Portal. Complete all outstanding items by following the instructions provided. Note that the list will change as you take action. For example, when a loan is accepted, the list will be updated to include any items or actions needed for the loan to be processed.

Disbursement is the process that applies credits from applicable financial aid funds to the student's ESF billing account. A disbursed form of aid will appear as "paid." Aid funds may also appear as "pending," which indicates that the aid is expected but has not yet credited the account.

  • Aid disbursement occurs on a regular basis beginning on or around the first day of classes each semester. Some aid may not be disbursed until later points in each semester based on the awarding rules for the funds. For example, state aid funds (TAP, STEM, Excelsior) will not disburse until at least four weeks have passed or in some cases after the semester has ended and the final eligibility of the student is certified.

  • All associated requirements must be completed for a disbursement to take place, for example: Financial Aid Verification, Loan Paperwork, Course Registration, etc.

  • Disbursed aid funds will be applied first to any allowable charges on the ESF bill. Most charges are considered allowable, but certain expenses, such as student health insurance charges, cannot be paid with aid funds unless authorization is provided by the student. Any funds available after the allowable charges have been covered will be provided to the student (or parent if the excess is from a parents' loan) as a refund.

Refunds are provided by the ESF Bursar's Office when a student has an overall credit balance on their billing account.

  • Funds are distributed through a third-party service called BankMobile using either direct deposit into a designated bank account or with a paper check. Students should follow instructions provided by BankMobile to establish a preferred method. If no method is selected, the default method of a paper check will be sent by BankMobile. For the most efficient availability of funds, students are encouraged to use direct deposit if possible.

  • Students and families are encouraged to carefully utilize the funds as needed with the expenses for which they are intended. Examples of the intended uses include off-campus room and meal costs, books and supplies, or other educational or essential living expenses.

Important Note

If you have contracted with SU for a meal plan, either voluntarily or as required for first-year on-campus students, you will receive a separate bill directly from SU for those charges. Even though the ESF aid package can provide funds to assist with that bill, aid will not be automatically applied to the charges. Instead, the student is ultimately responsible for ensuring that this bill is paid, either with personal funds or from a refund, if available. Students can access SU billing information through the MySlice student portal.

We're Here to Help

If you need assistance with accessing your aid information or have questions about your aid award or options to assist with expenses, the Financial Aid Office can be reached at:

SUNY ESF Financial Aid
113 Bray Hall
1 Forestry Drive Syracuse, NY 13210

315-470-4734 (Fax)
Financial Aid Webpage