Financial Aid

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Questions? You've come to the right place.

If you're unsure about something, chances are good that others are asking the same thing. We’ve gathered a handful of the most commonly asked questions related to the financial aid process, grants, loans, and more and organized them into the topics in the right menu. 

If you don’t see what you’re looking for, reach out via email or call 570.327.4766. We’re always here to help.


Financial Aid

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General Financial Aid

Who do I contact with questions about my student bill or my refund?

If you have questions related to payments, credit balances, refunds, BankMobile Vibe, etc., you may contact the Bursar's Office (Student Accounts). Questions about financial aid should be directed to the Financial Aid Office. Financial aid that you applied for and we have approved before your student bill is generated will appear on your student bill.

How do I know how much aid I will be awarded?

If you’ve been accepted for the fall semester and you’ve completed your FAFSA, head over to the applicant dashboard in mid-to-late November to view your anticipated aid. Your numbers will include the most common types of governmental aid (Federal Pell Grant, PA State Grant, and Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan) and your Penn College Scholarships.

If you’ve confirmed your intent to enroll, your anticipated aid can be found via the Student Information System (SIS) through mid-to-late May.

All of your aid may not be awarded at the same time. The process is ongoing and the timeframe depends on how promptly you complete your applications. Feel free to check SIS often to see the latest award info.

When all of your FAFSA information is received, the Financial Aid team will send you an email regarding your eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant. Finally, once student and parent loans are credited to your student account, we will mail you a final statement. 

In addition, your eligibility notice for a state grant will come to you directly from your state's higher education agency. For Pennsylvania residents, guidance on how you find that PA State Grant information will be emailed to you by PHEAA, starting in May. 

Do I need to be a full-time student to have financial aid?

In most cases, part-time students can be awarded aid. For example, if you’re taking six or more credits towards your degree per semester, you can be awarded Federal Direct Loans and private alternative loans. If you’re a Pennsylvania resident taking six or more credits per semester, you’re also eligible for PA State Grants. Finally, you can be considered for Federal Pell Grants even if you’re enrolled less than half-time. 

Many, but not all, Penn College scholarships require full-time enrollment. Some external scholarships also require full-time enrollment. 

How do Penn College costs and financial aid differ for Pennsylvania residents vs. out-of-state residents?

If you are a Pennsylvania resident, you’re eligible for the reduced in-state tuition rate. However, there are no differences in eligibility for federal grants and loans. On the state level, some Pennsylvania residents qualify for a PA State Grant. Also, some scholarships may consider location of residence during the selection process. 

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

How can I learn what my financial aid SAP status is?

Good question. Feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office to schedule a time to discuss your financial aid SAP status. We’re here to answer any questions that you have. 

My GPA is almost 4.00 and I just received a message from the Financial Aid team telling me that I didn’t achieve financial aid SAP. How can this be?

Financial aid SAP requires both an SAP GPA of at least 2.00 and a Pace of Completion of at least 66.67%. If you withdraw from classes for any reason, including an attempt to avoid low grades, you’ll have a lower Pace of Completion percentage than students who earn all attempted credits. A student with a high GPA who has many withdrawals can have a Pace of Completion lower than 66.67%, which means fewer than two out of every three attempted credits were earned.

One of my professors recently changed my final grade for last semester. Does this impact my SAP status?

Not usually. Many grade changes occur when an ‘I’ (incomplete) grade is changed to a passing grade. This type of change does not impact your financial aid SAP status until the next semester ends. However, if your professor is correcting a mistake from the original final grade submission, you should contact the Financial Aid team about the grade change after it is finalized.

Private Alternative Education Loans

Is a FAFSA required for a private alternative loan?

Completing a FAFSA is highly recommended, but not required. Completing a FAFSA puts you in the running for all eligible gift aid. If you prefer to only apply for a private alternative loan and not complete the FAFSA, Penn College requires that you submit a signed Penn College Educational Purpose Form for Private Alternative Loans to the Financial Aid Office.  

Do I need to apply for a Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan before I apply for a private alternative loan?

You are not required to apply for a Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan. However, these loans typically have lower interest rates.  We also recommended that you exhaust all federal aid resources prior to utilizing a private alternative loan.  If you choose to only apply for a private alternative loan, please email the Financial Aid team to let us know.  

Should I be concerned that my disbursement date is later than my eBill due date?

No, you should not be concerned. Any loans showing on your eBill as a pending credit will count towards your balance due even if the funds are not scheduled to disburse until the week prior to the start of the semester. The scheduled disbursement dates are based on federal regulations, which require that funds be disbursed to the school a minimum of ten days before the semester starts.


I already submitted the FAFSA for another college. Now I have decided to attend Penn College. Do I submit another FAFSA?

No. You don’t complete another FAFSA. You’ll just want to add our Federal School Code, 003395, to your FAFSA, preferably as the first 'school to receive your results' on your list. 

If I am not eligible for government grants and need to use loan funds to pay for my Penn College education, do I need to file the FAFSA?

Yes, if you want funding from Federal Direct Student or Parent PLUS Loans, you’ll need to complete the FAFSA. We highly recommend that you submit a current FAFSA every academic year so that you can be considered for all possible aid, including Penn College Scholarships. In case you are only applying for a private alternative loan and do not want to submit a FAFSA, Penn College requires that you submit a signed Penn College Educational Purpose Form for Private Alternative Loans to the Financial Aid Office.  

Government Grants

How do I apply for a Federal Pell Grant?

To apply for a Federal Pell Grant, you need to submit a complete FAFSA. After the Financial Aid Office receives and reviews your FAFSA, we will notify you if there’s anything more you need to do. 

How do I apply for a state grant?

To apply for a state grant, you must first submit a completed FAFSA for the academic year you will attend. Your FAFSA information will then be electronically transmitted to your home state's higher education agency, which may contact you for more information to determine state grant eligibility. First-time Pennsylvania students can submit their online State Grant Form immediately after submitting their FAFSA. 

I am not a Pennsylvania resident. Can I receive a grant from my home state to attend Penn College?

Some out-of-state students are eligible for a grant from their home state’s higher education agency. More details can be found on the Grant page of our website.

Do I need to repay my student grants?

In general, grants are free money that does not need to be repaid. However, if you withdraw from the College during a semester, you may need to repay part or all of your federal financial aid, including grants.

Learn more about the Federal Title IV Refund Policy. Withdrawals may also impact state grants. 

Federal Loans

Why is the amount of my parent’s PLUS Loan on my eBill lower than what my parent borrowed?

The U.S. Department of Education deducts an origination fee from the loan proceeds at the time of disbursement. This reduces the amount that posts to your eBill. As a result of the fee, the loan amount the College receives on your behalf will be less than the principal your parent has to repay.

Can my parent include the cost of my required toolkit in the amount my parent borrows?

Yes. We recommend that your parent apply for a one-semester loan rather than a full-year loan. For example, if you need a toolkit for your fall semester, your parent would complete a PLUS Loan request for August through December. You’ll just need to inform the Financial Aid Loans team that the amount your parent is borrowing includes the amount of the toolkit and specify the amount.

View our Loans page for additional information about Federal PLUS and other types of loans. 

If I don't need the maximum Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan funds in any one semester, how can I reduce my amount?

Penn College will credit your eBill with your maximum Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan eligibility. You do not have to accept the maximum amount. To cancel some or all of your Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan funds, please contact the Financial Aid team in writing or by email. Your cancellation request must include your full name, student ID number, and the total amount you wish to have cancelled. 

I received an award letter from Penn College stating that I will was awarded $2,750 from my Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan for my first semester. Why does my student eBill show a smaller credit (amount)?

The U.S. Department of Education deducts an origination fee from the loan proceeds at the time of disbursement. This reduces the amount that posts to your eBill. As a result of the fee, the loan amount the College receives on your behalf will be less than the principal you have to repay.