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Financial Aid Eligibility

To receive and retain student financial aid, including all types of federal loans, undergraduate, graduate, and professional students must meet certain eligibility requirements.

Application Requirements:

  • Have a high school diploma
  • Be a citizen or eligible non-citizen with a valid Social Security Number
  • Be registered for the Selective Service if you are male and 18-25 years of age
  • Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) yearly
  • Comply with any and all requests for information
  • Remain in good standing on educational loans and grants per the National Student Loan Database System (NSLDS)

Enrollment Requirements:

  • Be enrolled in an eligible degree or certificate program. Most certificate programs do not meet the eligibility requirements for federal student aid, however, there are some exceptions. Please contact our office for additional information.
  • In general, remain enrolled for at least six credits if you are an undergraduate student* with the exception of the Federal Pell Grant, which is awarded based on the number of credits (1 credit minimum) and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  • In general, remain enrolled for five credits; at the 400 level or higher if you are a graduate student.
  • Comply with Penn State's Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

*Some grant programs require full-time enrollment, which is indicated in each grant's eligibility section.

Federal Requirements:

We will monitor your Award Summary throughout each semester to ensure your student aid does not exceed your financial need or your costs. If this occurs, a hold will temporarily appear on the homepage of your LionPATH account indicating that you have an “Overaward of Financial Aid”. Our office will review and adjust your aid as appropriate to remain within federal guidelines.

We must also monitor to be sure that you have not used your Federal Aid eligibility at another school during the same academic period. If this occurs, a hold will temporarily appear on the homepage of your LionPATH account indicating that you have been flagged for “Transfer Monitoring”. If you have aid pending at another school, you will want to contact them to have it cancelled. Our office will review and adjust your aid as appropriate to remain within federal guidelines.

Determining Your Need:

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in determining the types of aid for which you are eligible.

Once you have completed your FAFSA, your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated through a formula established by federal law. The EFC formula takes into account many variables including your (and your parents' if you are a dependent student):

  • Income and assets
  • Number of people living in your household
  • Number of people in your household attending college
  • State of residence

Your cost of attendance minus your EFC equals equals your financial need.

Your EFC, which appears as a dollar amount, does not vary from school to school regardless of the actual cost of the institution you are attending. However, your financial need will vary according to each school's cost of attendance. For most students, financial aid only meets part of their financial need.

Rights and Responsibilities:

  • Know what your responsibilities are in being and remaining an eligible borrower
  • Know your rights as an eligible borrower

Change(s) in Eligibility:

For specific information about actions that could result in a change to your eligibility, review the following sections:

fafsa

FAFSA

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 Timeline

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LionPATH

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Tutorials

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Aid Calculator

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Money Manager

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Loan Repayment