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 online at studentaid.gov. Paper copies of the FAFSA form may be requested directly from the federal processor by calling 1-800-433-3243.
When do I apply?
Penn State recommends that first-year students complete the FAFSA as early as possible, but by December 1 for maximum consideration for all aid programs. Returning students should submit their FAFSA by April 1.
The FAFSA is also used to determine eligibility for state grant programs. In filing the FAFSA by December 1 for first-year students and April 1 for returning students, you will have met the Pennsylvania state grant deadline of May 1. Non-Pennsylvania students should check the deadlines which apply to the state grant program in their home 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 financial aid options that could support your educational investment. 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 enrolling at 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, allowing a student to consider attending any school regardless of cost.
Everyone can apply for financial aid. Regardless of income status, all prospective students and their families can apply for financial aid. If a family's estimated family contribution (EFC) is higher, that student may not quality for grant assistance. However, those students can borrow funds to pay for educational costs under the Federal Direct Loan Program and the Federal Parent PLUS 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 financial aid offices, 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 or [email protected], or visit us at 14 Perkins Student Center.