Financial Aid

As a Penn State World Campus student, you may be eligible for financial aid in the form of grants, loans, and scholarships, depending on your individual circumstances.

Familiarize yourself with your financial aid rights and responsibilities to understand what is expected of you and how to maintain your aid.

To view the detailed list of cost of attendance elements, select “World Campus” as the location on the tuition site.

You will most likely need to supplement any grants or scholarships you receive with loans or other methods of payment to meet your full costs. Aid programs are designed to help alleviate tuition costs but not replace earned income.

Because loans require repayment, you should borrow the smallest amount possible, monitor your borrowing through the National Student Loan Data System, and have realistic expectations about your ability to make loan payments after you graduate.

By applying for federal aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you can find out what federal aid programs you may qualify for. Even if you aren't sure if you qualify for any federal aid, submitting the FAFSA can help you find out if you qualify. A completed FAFSA is also required for many scholarships and University aid sources.

For the 2024–25 FAFSA, use the following information to select Penn State:

Pennsylvania State University (The) 
School Type: Public, Primarily 4-Year 
Federal School Code: 003329

Visit the Penn State Office of Student Aid website to find out more about which FAFSA year to submit depending on when you plan to enroll.

There are two kinds of aid resources available:

  1. "Gift aid," which includes scholarships and grants, is "free money" that doesn't need to be repaid.
  2. "Self-help aid," such as loans, requires work or repayment.

Submitting the FAFSA

It's important to plan ahead for your financial aid. There are necessary steps to complete to secure financial assistance for your education.

  1. Apply for your Federal Student Aid Account. You will need an account to submit the FAFSA. Visit the Federal Student Aid website to create an account to start applying for aid.
  2. Complete your FAFSA. The FAFSA determines your annual eligibility for federal, state, and University financial aid.
  3. Review your Student Aid Report. After your FAFSA has been submitted and processed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) to review. The SAR will summarize the data you provided and give basic financial aid information.
  4. Review your Penn State financial aid award summary in LionPATH. Choose "View Financial Aid" in LionPATH to review your Penn State financial aid award. Admitted students who completed a FAFSA will receive email notice of their aid eligibility from the Penn State Office of Student Aid after awarding begins.
  5. Follow up on outstanding financial aid items. Some students must provide verification of the family financial information supplied on the FAFSA. Check your To-Do List in LionPATH for any follow-up items.

Annual FAFSA Submission

You must submit a FAFSA for each academic year in which you plan to take courses, and it’s important to submit the correct FAFSA for the corresponding academic year. The following explains which FAFSA you will need to submit and which year’s tax information will be required, depending on when you plan to take courses.

FAFSA Submission Timing

Students taking courses fall 2023 through summer 2024

  • FAFSA to submit: 2023–2024 FAFSA
  • FAFSA submission dates: October 1, 2022–June 30, 2024
  • Required tax year information: 2021

Students taking courses fall 2024 through summer 2025

  • FAFSA to submit: 2024–2025 FAFSA
  • FAFSA submission dates: January 1, 2024–June 30, 2025
  • Required tax year information: 2022

Most types of aid require students to be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits for undergraduate students; 5 graduate credits for graduate students) in an aid-eligible program. Unless mentioned in program-specific cost information, most certificate students are ineligible for federal aid, including Federal Direct Student loans. Certificate students can apply for private alternative loans.

Federal, state, and University aid programs have annual and aggregate limits. You can find Federal Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loan limits and Pell Grant limits on the United States Department of Education website.

Graduate students are typically eligible to borrow up to $20,500 each academic year from the federal Direct Stafford Loan program. For additional funds, you can apply for a federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan.

Dependent students who need additional funds can consider having their parents apply for a Parent PLUS Loan.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students using federal aid must maintain aid eligibility by meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. These standards include:

  • completing at least 67% of the total attempted credits
  • maintaining degree standing and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 (undergraduate students) or 3.0 (graduate students)
  • completing your stated academic goal within 150% of the necessary credits

If you are no longer meeting these standards, you will receive a notice from the Office of Student Aid in your Penn State email.

Undergraduate students must earn a grade of D or better, or a Satisfactory/Pass grade, in order to earn credits for a course. Graduate students must earn a grade of C or better, or a Satisfactory/Pass grade, in order to earn credits for a course.

Course Drops, Withdrawals, and F Grades

Dropping and withdrawing from courses at any time can impact your tuition and fees as well as your current and future financial aid. Failing a course can also impact your future financial aid. You may owe a portion or all your financial aid back for the semester and have a balance on your student account. You can contact our Financial Aid team to discuss your individual situation at 814-867-4244 or [email protected].

When the Office of Student Aid reviews your FAFSA, you may need to clarify certain personal information such as your legal name or tax information through a process called verification. The Office of Student Aid will not disburse your aid until this verification process is complete.

What to Do If You Are Selected for Verification

You will receive an email and will see a notice in LionPATH that you have been selected for verification, and you will be able to view and print instructions for submitting your required documentation to complete the verification process. You can find tutorials about viewing financial aid information and other important actions on the LionPATH Support page.

When submitting required verification documents:

  • Include your name and Penn State ID on all pages.
  • Provide all the requested information and do not leave any blanks.
  • Upload, fax, or mail your documents to the central Office of Student Aid. Read more about verification and how to submit your documents.
  • Keep your address up-to-date via the Account Management portal at and check your Penn State email frequently.
  • Monitor your To Do List in LionPATH to check the status of the review. The verification item will disappear from your To Do List when verification is complete.
  • Do not send these documents in any format via email.

The documents you send back to us may take some time to process, so please be prompt in responding to these requests.

Grants, scholarships, and Parent PLUS Loans will be automatically accepted in LionPATH.

If you are offered Federal Direct Loans, Graduate Plus Loans, or any other type of loan, you have the option to accept or decline them. If you choose to accept a loan, you can choose what amount to accept. If you do not take any action to accept, decline, or decrease the amount of the loan, the loan will not be applied to your account. A tutorial showing how to accept, decline, or decrease your financial aid award is available on the LionPATH Support page.

If you change your mind about the amount of a loan you would like to accept after the loan has already been disbursed, you may be able to decrease or increase it. Your options will depend on the type of loan and how much time has passed since the loan was disbursed. Please contact the Penn State World Campus Financial Aid Office for more information at 814-867-4244 or via email at [email protected].

You may want to consider taking less than the maximum loan amount each semester to minimize the total amount of debt that you accrue over time while completing your degree. You may also want to consider this option during fall and spring semesters, if you wish to have aid remaining for the following summer semester.

If a refund has already been issued to you, you can return funds to Penn State using the Return of Loan Funds form.

Students are eligible for refunds if they have excess financial aid remaining after their bill has been paid. Students most often receive their refunds within the first two weeks of class. Penn State does not offer book vouchers. You should not rely on your financial aid refund to purchase course materials.

For the quickest delivery of your refund, you can enroll in eRefund (direct deposit) in LionPATH. You can find a tutorial about enrolling in eRefund on the LionPATH Support page. You will need to accept our refund authorization agreement in order to complete your eRefund enrollment. Your refund will be electronically deposited into your bank account of choice.

If you choose not to use eRefund, your refund will be mailed to the address listed on your student record and will arrive later than a direct deposit.

The Penn State World Campus Bursar Office can provide an itemized receipt for your payment if you need one for any reason. To request an itemized receipt, please submit the Itemized Receipt Request form. We will review and process your request within two business days.

It's important to think about summer financial aid early. You will need to plan, complete important steps, and review details about aid eligibility, limits, and requirements.

Steps to Prepare

  1. Submit your FAFSA. For the summer 2024 semester, you should submit the 2023–2024 FAFSA.
  2. Register for summer courses.
  3. Financial aid awarding will begin in mid-April, with summer billing expected to start in early May. You will receive an email when your aid award is available to view in LionPATH.
  4. You may be awarded loans, grants, and/or scholarships. If you are awarded any loans and wish to accept them, you can do so using the Accept/Decline Awards function in LionPATH.
  5. When you receive your tuition bill, pay any balance not covered by financial aid by the due date.
  6. Summer aid will begin to disburse in late June. If you are due an aid refund, you will receive it after that date.
  7. Plan to purchase your course materials before you receive your refund.

Things to Remember

  • Aid limits — There are annual limits to federal aid. If you received aid for fall and spring semesters, you may not have any aid remaining for summer. Contact us at 814-867-4244 or [email protected] to check your eligibility.
  • Dropping or withdrawing — Dropping classes or withdrawing before aid disburses in late June can affect your aid eligibility.
  • Enrollment status — Full-time enrollment is not required for many types of financial aid. Half-time or greater enrollment (6 credits for undergraduate students, 5 credits for graduate students) is required for federal loans.
  • LionPATH to-do list tasks — You should regularly monitor your to-do list in LionPATH and complete any items in a timely manner. Incomplete to-do list tasks may impact your aid. If your summer aid is not awarded by the end of April, please contact us.
  • Paying your bill — Bills are generated during the first week of the semester and due on the twenty-second day of each month. If you do not pay your bill by the due date, a 1.5% late payment fee will be incurred and an enrollment hold will be placed on your account. While awaiting disbursement, you will not be subject to late fees if you have enough anticipated aid to cover your bill.

If you've transferred to Penn State from another institution, you must inform your previous institution that you will not be returning and confirm that your previous institution has cancelled any pending aid disbursements.

You cannot receive most types of financial aid at two different institutions at the same time. There is also a limit to the total amount of aid you can receive for one academic year, at any institution or all institutions. If you have already used a significant portion of your annual aid before you transfer to Penn State, you may have a limited amount of aid remaining for the same academic year after you transfer. For Federal Direct Stafford Loans, annual loan limits apply to the total amount of aid that you access at any and all schools you attend.

Our Financial Aid team can answer questions and help you consider your individual situation and aid options at Penn State.

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