Financial Aid Application (FAA) – This must be reviewed or, if needed, submitted each year, and is used for an entire academic year. You should review your FAA and submit your FAFSA as soon after January 1 as possible, but no later than Penn College's priority FAFSA submission date of April 15 for fall or spring semester enrollment, which ensures that Pennsylvania residents will meet the Pennsylvania State Grant May 1 deadline. Other states may have earlier deadlines. We recommend that parents and students complete their federal income tax returns before completing the FAFSA. Applications submitted after May 1 will be considered for aid on a 'funds available' basis.
Loan Applications – To learn when we recommend you submit loan applications, please refer to the answer to the 'When should I apply' question for each specific type of educational loan on our Loans page.
Scholarship Applications – Pay very close attention to application deadlines and criteria, as they vary from program to program, and are determined by the sponsor. The best time period to apply for Penn College Scholarships for the following academic year is December 1 until the time we start awarding, which is early March. For scholarships not funded by Penn College that do not have online applications, pay attention to whether the deadlines are a 'postmarked by' date or a 'received' date. A good practice is to apply more than one week before the specific deadline date.
NOTE: You do not have to be accepted by the College in order to apply for government financial aid. Apply by these deadline dates even if you have not been accepted, or have not decided which college you will attend.
About 1 out of 3 students who submit a FAFSA are selected for an official review in a process called Federal Verification.
Incomplete or conflicting information on your FAFSA may lead to Verification, or your FAFSA may be chosen at random.
Regardless of the reason, the Financial Aid Office must compare FAFSA data with Verification information received from students (and parents). We must complete Verification before we can process
Federal Direct Loans, any federal grants, Federal Work-Study, or private alternative loans.
That means no federal aid or private loans will be applied toward your eBill until Verification is finalized.
If your FAFSA is selected for Federal Verification, the Financial Aid Office will mail you a detailed letter and Verification Form that explains what you (and parents) need to do.
The Verification process is becoming more and more ‘customized,’ so not all students and parents are required to provide the same information. However, everyone needs to complete and return the Verification Form we mail.
Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on your FAFSA makes the Verification process go faster! The DRT allows taxpayers (student or parent) to transfer key financial data from their IRS Tax Return directly to a FAFSA. Students and parents who use the DRT and did not change any of the transferred items will, with very few exceptions, not have to provide us with any financial documents for Verification. Taxpayers who were unable to (or chose not to) use the DRT will, in most cases, need to provide us with signed copies of IRS Tax Return Transcripts ordered directly from the IRS. You can request a Tax Return Transcript online, by phone, or by mail. Note that we can not accept your copies of your tax return; a Transcript must come from the IRS.
Wage earners who don’t need to submit tax returns will need to provide us with copies of all of their W-2 Forms for the calendar year stated on their Verification Form.
Once we have everything we need from you (and parents) we compare your FAFSA data with Verification information received and, if needed, we will adjust your FAFSA information. In some cases, we may require additional information. Please respond quickly to prevent delays in processing your financial aid.
From late winter into the summer, we receive a large number of Verifications and we cannot process them as quickly as we would like to. If your FAFSA is chosen for Verification, we appreciate your patience. Promptly providing us with all of the information we request and, if eligible, using the DRT, will allow us to complete your Verification more quickly. Note that you can check on your Verification status using the 'View Financial Aid Information' section of SIS.
PHEAA has a similar but separate review for Pennsylvania state grant recipients called Validation. If you receive an email or letter from PHEAA describing the Validation process, you will need to submit to PHEAA the financial documents it requests, even if you have previously sent us documents for Federal Verification.