The first step in being considered for financial assistance is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We highly recommend all students complete the FAFSA on the Web to ensure the quickest and most accurate processing. Students are automatically considered for most scholarships, grants and loans upon completing the FAFSA.
- First-year and transfer students: Complete the FAFSA by March 1st before the academic year in which you plan to enroll for maximum consideration.
- Returning/current students: Complete the FAFSA by April 15th of each year for maximum aid consideration.
(Some student aid programs continue to be available throughout the year so if you miss the recommended deadline, file your FAFSA as soon as possible.)
The FAFSA is a U.S. Department of Education form, and eligibility for most federal aid sources is determined by a formula developed by the federal government. Families experiencing special financial circumstances are advised through the application process to contact their financial aid office about such circumstances. At Penn State, a review of special circumstances is limited to situations in which there has been a complete loss of parent income or the death of the parent. For independent students, loss of income due to a return to college will be reviewed. Other types of situations cannot be considered.