OWL Alliance

Online Western New York Learning Alliance

Frequently Asked Questions

How does OWL work?

OWL allows students to combine courses among regional partner colleges, working toward an affordable, quality SUNY degree or certificate in any of 38 fully online programs. Working adult students who need the convenience of online courses are able to work with a concierge at their home college to “mix & match” courses which apply to their chosen program, allowing for greater flexibility, maximum course availability, and potentially quicker degree completion.
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Do I need to pick a "home" college?

Yes. Degrees are earned in a specific program or major, from a specific college. OWL is not a college. Also, all colleges require at least half of the courses taken toward a given degree or certificate be earned at the “matriculating” or home college. Besides, you’ll want access to the concierge and advising faculty at the college where you’ll be earning your degree.
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What will it cost me?

Costs per 3-credit course at OWL colleges, not including textbooks, range from $462 to $533. Full-time tuition and fees (12 credits of more) range from $1860 to $2372 per semester. This is about one-fifth the cost of a comparable course or full-time tuition at a private, proprietary online college. Financial Aid is also available – see "How can I pay for college?" or contact the concierge at your home OWL college. Community colleges are funded mostly through taxpayer dollars; proprietary colleges are funded by your high tuition. Community colleges offer affordable, quality SUNY degrees – with high levels of convenience, flexibility, and support close to home when you need it.
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How can I pay for college?

In addition to paying out-of-pocket for your college courses, there are several types of financial aid which can help. Check the Financial Aid website of your "home" college, go through the application process, and work with your concierge. College staff welcome questions about the types of financial aid available, including college scholarships and other awards. If you intend to apply for financial assistance, we recommend you complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible. See your “home” college website for information, and/or call for help.
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What types of financial aid are available?

FEDERAL PELL GRANT is for undergraduates only. Eligibility is based on need, family income, assets, the number in the family enrolled in college, and other factors. A PELL grant does not need to be paid back.

FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY GRANT (SEOG) is based on need and does not need to be paid back. Funds are limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to first time degree candidates. Priority is given to students whose applications are received by June 1 for the Fall semester.

FEDERAL DIRECT STUDENT LOAN is low interest educational loan, based on unmet financial need. Repayment of this loan begins six months after the student leaves school.

DIRECT PARENT PLUS LOAN has a variable interest rate. Applications are available at www.studentloans.gov. Repayment of this loan begins 60 days from the receipt of the loan.

NYS TUITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (TAP) for New York State residents. Students must be enrolled full-time and meet all TAP guidelines.

NYS AID FOR PART-TIME STUDY (APTS), also for New York State residents. Students must be enrolled part-time and meet all APTS guidelines.

SCHOLARSHIPS may also be available on a limited basis: contact your home school Financial Aid office.
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Can I take other courses, like face-to-face courses?

Yes. OWL colleges offer great flexibility for both online and more conventional course offerings, as well as great service. You may need to take college-readiness or review courses in English or Math, for example, to get your skills up to college level, and those may best be taken as conventional courses at your local college. Work with your concierge and/or advisor to fit courses to YOUR needs and schedule, whether they’re online or a combination of online and face-to-face courses. The bottom line: all OWL colleges work with you to help achieve your goals.
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