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Penn State York Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How do I apply for student financial aid?

A: Students can apply online at www.fafsa.ed.gov

Q:  What is Penn State’s Federal School Code?

A:  Penn State’s Federal school code is 003329.

Q:  What is the deadline for applying for student financial aid?

A:  Penn State recommends completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1 for first year students and by April 1 for all others wanting consideration for federal, state, and University aid programs.  You can complete the FAFSA at any time throughout the academic year.

Q:  How often do I have to complete the FAFSA?

A:  You need to complete the FAFSA each year. The FAFSA determines your aid eligibility for the fall, spring, and summer semesters of the application year.

Q:  If my Student Aid Report (SAR) indicates that I am selected for verification, what do I do?

A:  The Office of Student Aid notifies students of the items they need to provide to satisfy verification.  Students are notified by mail.  Students can submit the documentation to the Financial Aid office on Campus.  Depending on the time of the semester, verifications can take one to six weeks to be processed. This is a standard process that affects many of our students.

Q:  If I want only a loan, do I still need to complete the FAFSA?

A:  You must complete a FAFSA in order to borrow a Federal Direct Stafford or Federal Perkins Loan.
All Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan borrowers are required to complete the FAFSA on the web, which allows Penn State to confirm the relationship between the student and the borrower.

Some alternative loans do not require completion of the FAFSA, but it is recommended that you have a current FAFSA on file so that the University can consider you for all possible aid programs.

Q:  What is the difference between a subsidized and an unsubsidized loan?

A:  With a subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan, the federal government pays the interest due on the loan while you are enrolled. For the unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan, students are responsible for the interest during enrollment. Subsidized loans are awarded based on financial need.

Q: If I still have money left over after paying my tuition, what happens to it?

A: When your total aid is greater than your billable charges for tuition, fees, room and meals (if applicable), you may be eligible for a refund. Refunds are made available to registered students after all University (billable) charges are satisfied and student financial aid is disbursed on or after the first day of the semester. If you are interested in having your refund directly deposited into your checking or savings account, you can sign up for the Rapid Refund Program by choosing Refund Information from the Students menu on eLion.

Q:  I don’t have enough federal financial aid to cover my tuition and fees.  What are my options?

A:  If you are a dependent student, your parents may be eligible to borrow a Parent PLUS loan to cover the gap between charges and financial aid.  There are also alternative loans that students can borrow.  Penn State also offers a payment plan.  For more information on all of these resources, visit www.psu.edu/studentaid.

Q:  How do I apply for Federal Work-Study?

A:  The application for Federal Work-Study is the FAFSA.  If you are awarded work study by the University, it will be part of your financial aid package on your student aid summary.

Q:  How do I get my veterans benefits certified?

A:  Each academic year veterans must complete a request for certification form in the Financial Aid office before benefits can be certified.

Q:  My student loans have not yet posted to my Bursar’s account and now I have a bill.

A:  In order for student loan funds to come to the school, a first time borrower must complete a student loan entrance interview and a student loan master promissory note. Both of these can be found at www.studentloans.gov.

Q:  I have just learned that I must maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP). What is this?

A:  The Office of Student Aid is required by federal regulation to monitor student progression toward completion of degree and certificate programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Penn State's Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard requires that a specific number of completed credits are necessary each academic year to remain eligible for student financial aid. (Please note: This standard is different from University criteria determining satisfactory scholarship necessary to maintain degree-seeking status.)

Students who lose student financial aid eligibility by failing to make satisfactory academic progress may appeal. Students can obtain and submit appeal forms to the Financial Aid office.  Depending on the time of the semester, SAP appeals can take one to six weeks or more to be processed.

Q: If I plan to attend summer classes, am I eligible for student financial aid?

A: Aid resources are limited for the summer sessions. Federal Pell Grant and Direct Stafford Loans are available if you have remaining eligibility. If this is the first time you are applying for student aid this academic year, you must complete the FAFSA by June 30. Federal Work-Study is also available.

Caution: most full-time students meet their annual limit for financial aid during the fall and spring terms.

Q:  Not all of my student financial aid has disbursed into my Bursar account yet. Will I receive it after I drop a course?

A:  If a particular award requires you to be enrolled full-time (e.g., the Penn State Tuition Assistance Grant) or half-time (e.g., the Federal Stafford Loan) and you drop below the appropriate number of credits, you will not be eligible for the award.

The Federal Pell Grant will always be adjusted based on your new schedule. For example, if you drop from 12-15 credits down to 9-11 credits (or from 9-11 down to 6-8, and so on), your grant will be prorated.

Your Pennsylvania State Grant may be reduced if you drop from full-time to part-time (or from half-time to less than half-time.) Other aid programs may be adjusted depending on the timing and number of credits you drop.
By dropping a course after the semester begins, you may fall below the minimum credit expectation for satisfactory academic progress, which must be maintained to be eligible for student aid.

The decision about whether or not to drop a course is an academic issue. However, it is your responsibility to understand the financial implications of your decision.