Applying for Financial Aid

With admission decisions on the streets for summer and fall 2015, now is a great time to think about financial aid. Our colleagues in the Office of Student Aid took the time to put together some helpful hints for navigating what can be a complex process:

To apply for most financial aid at Penn State, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the only application you need to submit. For maximum consideration of financial aid, the Office of Student Aid recommends that you submit your FAFSA by March 1, 2015, if you are a new student to Penn State.

May 1 is the deadline for Pennsylvania residents who are interested in applying for the Pennsylvania State Grant. If you are a resident of a state other than Pennsylvania, please verify if you are eligible for a state grant and what your deadline is with your own state grant agency.

Some private scholarships and Penn State scholarships require separate applications. You can visit the scholarships section of our website for information about those programs.

Submitting the FAFSA

We HIGHLY recommend that you and/or your parents use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to view and securely transfer your federal tax information directly from the IRS to your FAFSA to save time and increase the accuracy of the FAFSA.

Your federal tax information will be available for transfer within three weeks if you file your federal tax returns electronically and within eight weeks if you file your paper returns via U.S. mail.

You should not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if you and/or your parents did any one of the following:

  • Filed an amended 2014 federal tax return (1040X)
  • Did not file a 2014 federal tax return
  • Are married but filed separately
  • Are separated from your spouse but filed jointly
  • Filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return

If you submit your FAFSA prior to filing your federal tax return, you may use estimated tax information or manually enter your tax information. However, once you have filed your taxes, we recommend you update your FAFSA either by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or actual final tax figures.

If Penn State receives your FAFSA by March 1, 2015, you will receive an email notification in late March. The email will provide instructions on how to view your Student Aid Summary online.

Requirements and Verification

To complete the FAFSA, you and/or your parents will need to:

  • Enter your name exactly as it appears on your Social Security card (include suffixes and your middle name/initial)
  • Enter your Social Security number
  • Provide your parent(s) name and social security number exactly as it appears on their Social Security card (including suffixes and middle name/initial).
  • Provide your valid driver’s license number (if you have one)
  • Enter your date of birth
  • Provide your alien registration number, for eligible non-citizens
  • Mark your individual status information (marital status, veteran, etc.)
  • Supply 2014 federal tax information, including adjusted gross income, earnings from work, income tax paid, etc.
  • Insert Penn State’s federal school code: 003329

We may be required to contact you to request documentation or have you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to verify your FAFSA information. Please respond quickly to any and all requests by the Office of Student Aid to ensure timely disbursement of your student aid.

We know this is new territory for many families and look forward to helping you as you determine how to invest in a Penn State education.

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2 Responses to Applying for Financial Aid

  1. Jenna Spinelle says:

    Hi Jeff, sorry it’s taken us a little while to get back to you! Yes, you met the March 1 deadline. Please file and update to your FAFSA as soon as you are able to do so.

  2. Jeff Pierce says:

    Can you clarify the filing date of March 1? We did file our FAFSA the 1st week in January using estimated taxes from last year. Does that meet the deadline of March 1st? We just today filed our final taxes, but the data wont be available for 3 weeks to use the tool to update our FAFSA submission. Have we technically met the Mar 1 deadline, or does the deadline mean final filed 2014 taxes & updated FAFSA? Any help appreciated, thanks!

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