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Step 1: Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the Web

Students WalkingThe FAFSA serves as the single application for all types of student financial aid-federal, state, and Penn State programs. To apply for student financial aid at Penn State, you must complete the FAFSA on the Web and meet student aid eligibility requirements. Please take the following steps to ensure smooth processing of the FAFSA.

Complete the FAFSA on the Web at the Department of Education's secure Web site.

Applying online is fast, easy, secure, and less error-prone than applying on paper. The federal processor is able to process your electronic application two to three weeks faster than a paper application.

  • As you complete the FAFSA on the Web, read and follow the online instructions carefully and be prepared to provide the following information:
    • Your social security number
    • Individual student information (e.g., marital status, veteran status, etc.)
    • Current federal income tax information for you and/or your parents/spouse.
      • adjusted gross income (AGI) and benefits
      • non-taxable income and benefits
      • assets

Note: If necessary, use estimated tax information to complete the FAFSA by the recommended dates.

  • Review the information you have entered on the FAFSA and make sure it is correct before you press the submit button. A complete and accurate FAFSA is an important step in the smooth processing of your student financial aid application.
  • Use Penn State's federal school code (003329)where requested on the FAFSA.
  • After you submit your FAFSA, you will be prompted to sign the application electronically using the Federal PIN that you previously requested. If you included parent information on the FAFSA, your parent will need to sign electronically using a PIN as well.
  • Keep important papers, such as a copy of your FAFSA, tax information, and e-mails/letters that you receive in a student financial aid folder.

Step 2: Confirm Your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Information

After the federal processor receives your FAFSA, your information is analyzed and forwarded to the Office of Student Aid at Penn State.

  • Two to three weeks after submitting the FAFSA on the Web, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) acknowledgement asking you to review the information from your FAFSA.
    • If necessary, submit any corrections online to the federal processor through the FAFSA on the Web.
    • Keep a copy of your corrections in your student financial aid folder.
  • When Penn State electronically receives your FAFSA information, the Office of Student Aid will review it and contact you if more information is needed.  Please respond promptly to any requests for additional information.
  • You will then receive a Student Financial Aid Award Notification from the Office of Student Aid at Penn State.
    • The award notification will list all student financial aid programs (loans, grants, work-study, and scholarships) for which you qualify as well as other important information.
    • First-year students will receive award notifications beginning in March.
    • Upperclass and graduate students will receive award notifications in late June or early July.

Step 3: Complete Your Registration to Receive Your Student Financial Aid

In order to successfully begin your semester at Penn State, you must take the following steps:

  • Follow all instructions on the Student Financial Aid Award Notification.
  • With the assistance of an academic advisor, schedule your classes.

Note to first-year students: You will participate in the summer New Student Orientation. During orientation, an academic advisor will assist you with the scheduling process. The Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) will automatically contact you with information on FTCAP.

  • Next, you will receive a bill from the Office of the Bursar at Penn State.
    • The bill will include tuition and, if applicable, room and meal charges for one semester.
    • Your student financial aid will be listed on the bill as a credit.
  • Complete the registration of your courses by paying any balance owed.
    • The amount you owe will be your total charges less any student financial aid you have been awarded.
    • If your aid exceeds your total charges, you may receive a refund after classes begin.

IMPORTANT: You must call the Office of the Bursar or return your bill even if all charges are covered by your student financial aid. Responding to the bill is the only way for Penn State to know that you are planning to attend.

  • After you complete the registration process and classes begin, your student financial aid will disburse into your Bursar account and be credited towards your bill.
    • If you are eligible for a refund, it will be available at the beginning of the semester - provided you have completed all necessary steps as outlined previously.
    • You can request that your refund be electronically deposited into your bank account by completing an ACH Authorization Agreement through the Office of the Bursar.