By now, your student should have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA.) The FAFSA is the only application for financial aid required by Penn State York. It is the application for federal, state, and University aid, so it is strongly recommended that you file. If you have not completed it, you should probably work on it today.
You may be wondering, so what happens after I file the FAFSA? Your FAFSA data is processed by the Department of Education’s Central Processing Service and the information is sent to the colleges listed on the application. Students will receive an email from the federal processor containing a secure link to access the Student Aid Report (SAR) online. Students and parents should check the SAR for accuracy since this is the information that Penn State is going to use to process your financial aid award.
In late March, new incoming students who have applied for aid will receive an email notification that their student aid summary is ready to review. This summary will be a list of financial aid resources the student is estimated to receive, based on the FAFSA that was submitted. The aid summary will also include estimated billable costs, but the actual tuition and fees amount will not be available until July.
Starting in April, the Office of Student Aid will start the FAFSA verification process. You will be notified by the Office of Student Aid if you have been selected and what information you are required to provide. Being selected does not mean you did something wrong. Verification is used to ensure that Penn State is administering the federal aid programs accurately and fairly. Not providing the documentation in a timely manner (within thirty days of the first request) will prevent the disbursement of the student’s financial aid to the bursar account thus creating a balance payable by the student. You may bring all verification documents to the Student Aid office for review. We are happy to make sure you have everything you need and will fax the documents directly to the Office of Student Aid for you!
If you have access to any type of media – newspaper, TV, internet – you have probably seen a report or two on sequestration and the federal government. Federal financial aid programs will be impacted by sequestration, which generally means across-the-board cuts. The federal PELL grant and direct loans are exempt from sequestration but there will be some impact on the loan program. The origination fees on the loans will increase but the loan amounts will remain unchanged. The origination fees are currently 1 percent and are expected to rise to 1.051 percent for the 2013-14 academic year. That increase is necessary to offset the protection of the loan program. The Direct Stafford loan interest rate is expected to rise to 6.8 percent as of July 1, 2013. This increase only applies to new subsidized Stafford loans for undergraduate students.
Other federal programs that are impacted by the sequester are the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and the Federal Work Study Program (FWS). FSEOG is a grant awarded by the Office of Student Aid to students with demonstrated high financial need. In order for students to be eligible for FSEOG, they must meet Federal and Penn State financial aid eligibility requirements and also be a Federal PELL Grant recipient. FSEOG is expected to cut by $49 million and FWS program is going to be cut by $37 million nationally. Since these cuts are expected to happen over the next several months, the Office of Student Aid here at Penn State does not yet know what the cuts will be specifically for our school, nor do we know how many students will be affected. For updates, check our website at www.studentaid.psu.edu.
We understand financial aid can be confusing and encourage students to come to the office to ask questions or for help completing forms. Students must take responsibility for their financial aid package, and ask for help from the Student Aid office at Penn State York!