Financial aid eligibility is governed by federal and state regulations as well as University policy. Generally, students must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- The student must be a United States citizen or an eligible non-citizen as identified by the Department of Homeland Security.
- The student must be a high school graduate or have a GED.
- The student must be accepted as a degree-seeking student without restriction, and must be enrolled in at least six credits (at Penn State, half-time enrollment is six credits per semester).
- The student cannot be in default of any prior student loan, or owe a refund on any prior federal or state grant.
The Financial Aid Process
By submitting your student aid application, the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you begin the process known as "need analysis."
The FAFSA collects basic information about your family's income and assets, your household size, and the number of family members attending college. This information is entered into a federal formula developed by the U.S. Congress that estimates your family's "ability to contribute" to your educational expenses. Your "ability to contribute" is called your estimated family contribution (EFC). When your family contribution is subtracted from the school's total cost of attendance (typical expenses incurred for meeting college costs such as tuition, fees, room and board, books, and miscellaneous expenses), your "financial need" is set. This figure determines your eligibility for most student aid programs. Adult learner students and most graduate students follow the same formula, but parent income and asset information is not required.
Because you are asked to report income and asset information, it is necessary for you to keep copies of your federal tax returns accessible. The Office of
Student Aid will notify you if these or any other documents are needed to meet federal verification requirements. Tax returns or other documents may
also be requested by the state grant agency of the state in which you live.
If you have any questions, contact the Financial Aid Office at 610-396-6070 or visit 14 Perkins Student Center.