Financial Aid FAQs
Answers to Common Questions About Financial Aid
What is financial aid?
Any kind of funding to help pay for college is considered to be financial aid. Financial aid comes from four different sources - the federal government, the state government, private sources, and Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology. Grants and scholarships are considered gift aid; students are not required to repay the money received. Loans, typically offered at low interest rates, are to be repaid by students usually after completion of their degree.
When will I find out how much financial aid I can expect to receive?
The Financial Aid Office processes the aid and sends an award letter via email to students starting in March. Any changes to a student's award letter will be sent to the student via a revised award letter email. The award notice lists the type of aid and the amount of each type of aid you can expect to receive for the fall and spring semesters.
How much aid will I be eligible to receive?
The amount of financial aid a student is qualified to receive is determined by the results of the FAFSA. The FAFSA asks about your family size, the number of family members in college and the student's and parents' income and assets. The calculation tells the Financial Aid Office how much aid you are eligible to receive. Grants and scholarships are applied to your aid package, if you are eligible for any, and then the student loan is processed.
What is my cost of attendance?
The Cost of Attendance (COA), also known as the "Student Budget", takes into account direct expenses (tuition, room and board) and estimated expenses like transportation (commuter), books and tools. This number is used by the school to determine the maximum amount of financial aid a student can receive for that award year. Note: for students that borrow loans through the Federal Direct Loan program, an average loan fee will be added to the Cost of Attendance. Students who receive the Stevens Grant will have a COA of $0 for books and tools, as they are provided by the College.
I was selected for verification. What does that mean?
Verification is a process the Department of Education uses to make sure that the information reported on the FAFSA is accurate. We will notify you of the information needed to perform verification as the documents needed can vary between students.
Verification should be completed within 30 days. Failure to complete the process will result in an ineligibility for Title IV Federal funds until the process is completed.
What do I do if I cannot provide parent information on the FAFSA?
Please contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss the details of why you are unable to provide parent information. In some cases we are able to process the FAFSA without parent data. Additional paperwork and documentation will be required.
I received my award letter and I still need more money. What can I do?
Your parents may consider applying for a Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Student (PLUS). If a parent is denied a PLUS loan, the student may borrow more in the unsubsidized Stafford Loan. There are also non-federal alternative loans available. In addition, the college offers a payment plan that allows you to pay 1/3 at the time the semester bill is due, 1/3 a month later and the final 1/3 a month after that.
Why do I have to put my parents' tax information on the FAFSA if they are not paying for school?
The federal government expects both parents and the student to contribute to the student's educational costs. Regardless if a parent will or will not contribute to your education, their income and assets must be reported and are used to determine your eligibility for financial aid. If you live with a parent and stepparent, both the parent's and stepparent's income information will be used to determine your aid eligibility. Whether or not your parents claim you on a federal tax return, you will still need to use their income information on the FAFSA.
How does dropping or failing a course affect future financial aid eligibility?
Withdrawing from a class after Drop/Add may mean that a student will be short the number of credits needed for satisfactory academic progress (SAP). For more information on our SAP policy click here.
One of my parents/caregivers lost their job and my family is facing hardships. Can the Financial Aid Office help me?
If your family experiences a change in income due to unusual circumstances (e.g. loss of employment, separation or divorce, high non-reimbursed medical expenses, etc.), contact the Financial Aid Office about a possible reevaluation of aid eligibility.
What happens to my financial aid if I drop a course during the semester?
Aid may be adjusted if a change in enrollment occurs during the drop/add period. The student is strongly advised to seek specific guidance from the Financial Aid staff. The potential exists for aid to be cancelled depending on the particular situation and the policies in effect which regulate administration of aid.
When will I receive my refund?
If a student receives more financial aid than their charges a credit balance will occur. When this occurs the business office will issue a refund in the form of a paper check for the student to pick up in the business office. Refunds from Title IV Federal aid will be issued within 14 days of the date of the credit balance. Usually 4-5 weeks into the semester.