You Have Rights and Responsibilities as a Student Using Financial Aid

Last year, more than 63,400 Penn State students received student financial assistance to help with the cost of education. Federal, state, and institutional resources partner with you and your family to help meet your educational costs.

Your Responsibilities

You are responsible for:

  • Reading all materials provided by the Office of Student Aid and other awarding agencies. Read, understand, and keep copies of all forms you sign.
  • Completing and correcting application materials to the appropriate agencies within required or recommended time frames.
  • Knowing and complying with the rules governing the aid you receive. These rules include but are not limited to: one, you must not be in default on any prior educational loan and two, you must not owe a refund on a Federal Pell Grant or a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) due to repayment or adjustment.
  • Providing documentation, federal tax returns, W-2s, and any additional information requested by our office.
  • Complying with the provisions of any promissory note and all other agreements you sign.
  • Finalizing your semester schedule each semester by the Financial Aid Census Date, which is typically the end of the drop/add period, to ensure availability of all financial aid funds that you have been offered. Aid may be adjusted based on the number of credits for which you are enrolled as of the Census Date.
  • Using student financial aid solely for direct educational costs and related living expenses.
  • Knowing the financial aid implications of dropping a course or withdrawing from Penn State.
  • Maintaining satisfactory academic progress.
  • Keeping your local and permanent addresses current with the Office of the University Registrar.
  • Reporting any change in your status, including informing the University and your loan servicer of changes to your name, address, social security number, and graduation date or if you transfer to another school.
  • If you have educational loans, contacting your loan servicer(s) with any changes in enrollment including cancelling your courses, withdrawing, or taking a leave of absence from the University to determine any repayment obligations during your time away from the University. If you re-enroll at Penn State, you will need work with your loan servicer(s) to process a deferment of your loan payments.
  • Providing complete and correct information on applications and in response to requests from our office or other awarding agencies.
  • Begin attendance in all of the classes for which you receive financial aid. If you withdraw from or fail a class you did not begin attending, your federal financial aid may be reduced or canceled. Academic attendance includes physically attending class, submitting academic assignments, taking exams, or participating in online discussions that are part of the course delivery.
  • Repay all loans according to your repayment schedule and to contact your loan servicer immediately if you can't make a requirement payment. Should you default on a federal loan you will not be eligible for financial aid.
  • Activate your Penn State email account and regularly check your financial aid status in LionPATH.
  • Complete exit counseling if you leave school or drop below half-time enrollment if you have borrowed Federal Direct Loans or University Loans.
  • Reporting private sources of student financial aid to the Office of the Bursar at the address below. Please submit a copy of your outside scholarship award letter to:

   Office of the Bursar
   Attn: External Awards
   109 Shields Building
   University Park, PA 16802
   Fax: 814-865-6535

Your Rights

You have the right to:

  • Privacy (FERPA). All records and information submitted with your application for financial aid are confidential and subject to legal requirements concerning disclosure of such information. Read more about FERPA and the privacy and release of student information.
  • Know the correct procedures for applying for student financial aid, your cost of attendance, and the types of aid available.
  • Know how financial need is determined, what the criteria are for financial aid sources, how satisfactory academic progress is determined, and what you have to do to continue receiving aid and how to reestablish your eligibility for financial assistance if you fail to maintain satisfactory progress.
  • Understand the type and amount of assistance you will receive, how much of your need has been met, and how and when you will receive your aid funds. Read more about when you will receive your aid funds.
  • View the contents of your student financial aid file, in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
  • Know the conditions of any loan you accept.
  • Know the terms, conditions, and pay rate for any student job you accept.
  • Appeal any decision with our office in regard to your application.
  • Expect notification of your financial aid offer and any adjustments to it.
  • Know where to find information on loans you borrowed, repayment options, and debt management strategies.
  • Review Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan Repayment for more information about federal loan repayment options and to see a sample loan repayment schedule.
  • Certain consumer information. Federal regulations require that institutions provide specific consumer information about the school and about financial aid to enrolled and prospective students.
  • Cancel all or part of your federal loan and/or disbursement.