How does undergraduate financial aid work in relation to my Bursar bill?

Generally, the Bursar is going to charge you for four things:

  • tuition
  • fees
  • residence hall room
  • meal plan

When determining how much financial assistance you might need, the Financial Aid Office looks at a bigger picture. An estimate is made of how much it’s going to cost the average student to live for the academic year while attending school. This is called “Cost of Attendance.”  So in addition to the tuition, fees, and room/board charges (also known as “billable costs”), an estimate is made of how much you’ll be paying for books and supplies, travel, and general living expenses (also known as “nonbillable” costs meaning they don’t show up on your bill). For these estimates, general averages for schools or colleges are used so you’ll notice that your Cost of Attendance is larger than your Bursar charges that appear on your bill.

2017-2018 Undergraduate Cost of Attendance
(Bursar “billable” charge)
(Bursar “billable” charge)
Housing & Meals
(Bursar “billable” charge)
Books & Supplies
(Estimates for other costs – “non-billable”)
(Estimates for other costs – “non-billable”)
Personal Expenses
(Estimates for other costs – “non-billable”)
Cost of Attendance $65,480


Financial Aid Calculation

To calculate the amount of financial aid you’ll need, start with the Cost of Attendance (how much you’ll be paying to live for the academic year) and then subtract your Estimated Family Contribution (the amount that your family has been calculated to be able to contribute based on the information you provided on your FAFSA and CSS/PROFILE). The remaining amount is the total of financial aid you may receive. This amount is then split evenly-half for the fall term and half for the spring term.


Now back to your bill….

Provided that you’ve submitted all documents necessary as listed on your MySlice Financial Aid To Do List (promissory notes, etc.), your financial aid will appear on your bill as “anticipated financial aid”. This means that the aid isn’t on your Bursar account yet but is being used to reduce your charges–in anticipation of it showing up. Around the time classes begin for the semester, almost all of your financial aid is transferred to your Bursar account. (This disbursement of financial aid occurs no earlier than 10 days before the first day of class.) The exception is Federal Work-Study for which you’ll have to work and earn a paycheck (visit the Student Employment page for more details).


What is a refund?

Your financial aid is first used to cover any charges on your Bursar account (tuition, fees, residence hall, meal plan…those “billable costs”). You may have more financial aid than you do charges, in which case the “extra” money will be available to you as a refund. You can fill out a refund request form to let the Bursar know where you want the refund to go and how you want it to get there. The Bursar usually sends out these refunds about 10 days after classes start. Then you’re free to use that refund for those “nonbillable” costs such as books, toothpaste, deodorant and rent/food if you live off campus.

Syracuse University offers other payment options including a monthly payment plan. Learn more by visiting the Bursar’s Office or call 315.443.2444 to discuss additional payment options.

Important: If you or your family are experiencing special circumstances that affect your ability to pay your bill, please contact your financial aid counselor for advice and possible solutions by calling 315.443.1513 or via email.