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.

Learn more about:

Financial Aid Rights and Responsibilities

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

Tips for Using Your Aid

  • Aid programs are designed to help alleviate tuition costs, but not replace earned income.
  • 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.

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

Federal Student Aid

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 would 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.

You will need Penn State’s FAFSA school code for the FAFSA. Penn State's code is 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

Eligibility: 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 on a program-specific Costs page, 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 Loan limits on the Penn State Office of Student Aid website 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.

Verification of Financial Information

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. Learn more about viewing financial aid information in LionPATH.

When submitting required verification documents:

  • Include your name and Penn State ID on all pages
  • Provide all requested information and do not leave any blanks
  • You can upload, fax, or mail your documents to the central Office of Student Aid. Read more about verification and how to submit your documents.
  • Do not send these documents in any format via email
  • 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.

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

Maintaining Aid Eligibility

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Students using federal aid must maintain aid eligibility by meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. These standards include completing 67% of the total attempted credits, maintaining degree standing and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 (undergraduate students) or 3.0 (graduate students), and 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 of 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].

Financial Aid Refunds

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, and 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 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.

Accepting, Declining, or Decreasing Your Financial Aid Awards

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 it. If you choose to accept it, 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. You can accept, decline, or decrease your financial aid awards in LionPATH.

If you change your mind about the amount of a loan you would like to accept, after the loan has already disbursed, you may be able to decrease it or increase it. Your options will depend on the type of loan and how much time has passed since the loan disbursed. Please contact the Penn State World Campus Financial Aid Office for more information at 814-863-2633 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.

Transfer Students

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.

Requesting a Receipt for Your Payment

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 our itemized receipt request form. We will review and process your request within up to two business days.