What application is used?
To be considered for student aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is available from your high school, the Office of Student Aid at Penn State University Park campus, or from the financial aid representative at the Penn State campus nearest you.
When do I apply?
Penn State recommends that incoming freshmen complete the FAFSA as early as possible, but by February 15, for maximum consideration for all aid programs. If your federal income tax forms are not completed by that date, you may use estimated information as per FAFSA instructions. Returning students should submit their FAFSA or renewal FAFSA using information from completed tax forms by April 15.
The FAFSA is also used to determine eligibility for state grant programs. In filing the FAFSA by February 15, for incoming freshmen and April 15, for returning students, you will have met the Pennsylvania state grant deadline of May 1. Non-Pennsylvania students should check the deadlines which apply for the state grant program in their state.
Important Things to keep in Mind When Applying for Financial Aid
- Apply. If you do not complete the application process, you may miss out on sources of financial aid that can assist you in meeting your educational costs. Contact the financial aid counselor at the school you plan to attend for information on the application process and deadline dates. You should complete the financial aid applications as early as possible regardless of your acceptance to a particular school. This will ensure your maximum consideration for all aid available.
- You are not alone. The financial aid process can be confusing for a first time applicant. Take the time to make an appointment with your guidance counselor or the financial aid counselor at the school you plan to attend. The counselors are available to assist you and your family through the financial aid application process.
- Explore all sources of financial aid. Financial aid funds can be obtained from many different sources. In addition to the Federal Financial Aid Programs, there are state programs, institutional programs, and private scholarships and grants. Students should investigate local, regional, and national sources of private funds and how to make application for these funds.
- Pursue your educational goals. The purpose of financial aid is to provide access to education. Students sometimes feel that cost is a barrier to attending the institution of their choice. The difference between what a school costs and what the family is expected to contribute may be available in financial aid funding; thereby allowing a student to consider attending any school, regardless of cost.
- Everyone can apply for financial aid! Some families feel that they have too much income to be eligible for financial aid. Not every family will qualify for grant assistance; however, regardless of income, they can borrow funds to pay for educational costs under the Federal Stafford Loan Programs and the Federal Parent Loan Program.
- Keep copies of all forms you use in applying for financial aid. Create a file folder containing copies of all completed forms and correspondence that you receive from the Financial Aid Office, as well as from all other agencies dealing with financial aid. You may need to refer to these documents at a later date.
Contact the Financial Aid Office at 610-396-6070. Visit us at Perkins Student Center, room 6.