Financial Aid

Financial Aid

Student aid is any resource that supplements what students, parents and/or those responsible for the student are expected to contribute to meet the costs of a college education. Penn State students receive four types of student aid: grants, scholarships, loans, and federal work-study.

New deadline to apply for financial aid

The 2017-18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be available earlier this year – October 1, 2016, rather than January 1, 2017 – and will use income information from two years prior to the academic year instead of the previous year.

This change is commonly referred to as “Prior-Prior Year” (PPY). This will allow you and your families to file your FAFSA earlier with more accurate information and will eliminate the need to estimate tax data.

If you are planning to be enrolled for Fall 2017 and/or Spring 2018, you will be using tax information from 2015. This change will ensure that you can automatically download tax return data using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) and will not have to manually enter any tax return data on the FAFSA.

Penn State recommends that students file their FAFSAs as early as possible, starting October 1 and no later than April 15. Keep in mind that many student aid sources, especially University funds, have limited funding and are awarded to eligible students on a first come, first served basis.  Waiting to file the FAFSA may mean you will not be awarded funding for which you would otherwise qualify because the available funds have run out.


Grants are awarded based solely on financial need, have no requirement of repayment, and can come from the federal government, the state, or Penn State. To find grants awarded by Pennsylvania, visit the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency's website.


Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement. For many University scholarships, financial need is an additional criterion of eligibility. There is no requirement of repayment.


Loans are low-interest awards that must be repaid after students leave Penn State. Loans include the Federal Direct Loan, the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, and alternative educational loans.

Parent Plus Loan

Private Alternative Loans

Federal Work-Study

Federal Work-Study awards are based on a student's financial need and allow students to earn money towards their school expenses. Work-study earnings are not applied directly to a student's semester bill because work-study students receive a paycheck.