Financial Aid / Overpayment Refunds

Refunds from financial aid or overpayments occur throughout each semester. The date of a specific refund depends on many factors, such as aid type, liability status, etc., but no refunds are issued before the first week of classes.  Students are encouraged to monitor their BearPAWS account to check on the status of aid payments and refunds.

Whenever federal financial aid is posted to a student's account an e-mail is sent to the student's Potsdam e-mail address. If this aid payment creates a refund, the Student Accounts Office will process the refund in approximately two to five days.  The student is notified via e-mail when their refund has been processed.

Refund Eligibility

A refund situation occurs when payments and credits on your student account exceed tuition and other charges for a semester.

For example, if for the fall semester your tuition and other charges are $6,000 and your financial aid totals $8,000, your account balance is -$2,000 (negative) and you would receive a refund of $2,000.

Refunds are intended to pay for educational expenses, such as books, supplies, personal expenses, and room and meals if you live off-campus.

Potsdam Debit Card

Distribution of Refund

SUNY Potsdam partners with Higher One, a financial services company, to deliver refunds to SUNY Potsdam students. Students have the following options to receive a refund:

  • Easy Refund to the OneAccount using the Potsdam Debit Card
  • ACH Bank Transfer
  • Paper Check Option

Choose the option that is best for you. After you register for classes, your new Potsdam Debit Card will be mailed to your current address on file with SUNY Potsdam.  You need this card to choose one of these options.  Follow the instructions that accompany the card in order to select an option.  Students will find their Higher One Activation code in BearPAWS on the Personal Information page.

You can visit to learn more and view the Higher One FAQ.

We start to distribute student refunds around the first day of classes.  Student refunds are distributed based upon the refund option that was selected at  If you selected Easy Refund, your refund should be available within two business days of disbursement.  If you are depositing your refund to a bank of your choice, your refund should be available within three business days of disbursement.  If you do not select any option, a paper checked will be mailed after a 21 day delay.

A refund generated from a parent loan is mailed to the permanent home address unless the parent borrower has indicated on the loan application that it should be made payable to the student.

Changes to a permanent address must be made in the Registrar's Office.