"How can I pay for a college education?"
This is a question many students and parents ask themselves, especially when they consider that earning an undergraduate degree typically requires four years of study.
Here at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, we are committed to providing everyone with an opportunity to receive an excellent education . . . without regard to a family's financial status. We fulfill this commitment by answering your questions and guiding you through financial aid applications, by coordinating and allotting scholarship and other aid programs, and by providing Federal Work Study and campus employment opportunities. The commitment is strong: approximately $40 million is awarded through the various programs annually.
About 80% of our students receive some form of financial aid. We understand that without it, many students simply couldn't afford an education. We also know that the entire financial aid application process can seem confusing. Within these pages, we have covered the most common areas of questions and concern.
General Eligibilty Requirements
Per the U.S. Department of Education, to be eligible for Federal Aid Programs students must
- demonstrate financial need (for most programs);
- be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen;
- have a valid Social Security number (with the exception of students from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau);
- be registered with Selective Service, if you’re a male (you must register between the ages of 18 and 25);
- be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program;
- be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits) to be eligible for Direct Loan Program funds;
- maintain satisfactory academic progress in college or career school;
- sign statements on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) stating that you are not in default on a federal student loan and do not owe money on a federal student grant and you will use federal student aid only for educational purposes; and
- have a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent such as a General Educational Development (GED) certificate.
Student Rights and Responsibilities
The student has the right to receive the following information from the school:
- What financial assistance is available, including information on all federal, state and institutional financial aid programs.
- The procedures and deadlines for submitting applications for each available financial aid program.
- How financial aid recipients are selected.
- How financial need is determined.How and when financial aid will be disbursed.
- The criteria for measuring satisfactory academic progress, and how a student who has failed to maintain satisfactory progress may reestablish eligibility for federal and state financial aid.
The student is responsible for:
- Submitting the appropriate application forms within published deadline dates.
- Responding to all requests for additional information in a timely manner.
- Informing the Student Financial Services Office in writing or via email of all grants, scholarships, or other funds received for his/her educational costs from outside organizations.
- Informing the Student Financial Services Office of any changes in financial status, marital status, name changes, address changes, and any other information which may affect the student's eligibility for financial aid.
- Maintaining satisfactory academic progress.
- Using all refunds of financial aid for expenses related to his/her education.
- Formally withdrawing from the University, if necessary, so that the University can meet federal guidelines concerning conducting exit Interviews prior to the student's leaving the school.
For more information on items such as LHU’s graduation rate, loan default percentage, median borrowing, and cost of attendance, please log into your myHaven account and view the “Shopping Sheet” under the Financial Aid tab. Please note the tuition and fees are estimated and may not be exact with the actual amounts as set forth by PASSHE in July of each year.
Applying for Financial Aid
If it is your intent to receive financial aid you need only complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for most programs. Students who complete the FAFSA will be considered for the Federal Pell Grant, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), TEACH, the Pennsylvania State Grant (or other state grant), the Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Direct Stafford Loan, as well as the Federal Work Study Program.
The FAFSA may be completed as early as January of the year you will begin college - you do not need to wait until you have applied for admission and/or been admitted to Lock Haven. You will be asked to provide the Federal School Code on the FAFSA. Lock Haven University's Federal School Code is 003323. Students are encouraged to file the FAFSA online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. The FAFSA on the Web Worksheet will help you (and your parents if you are dependent student as determined in Step 3 of the FAFSA) collect information needed to complete the FAFSA.
Beginning on May 11, 2015, the U.S. Department of Education initiated a new procedure for logging in to many of its websites, including the site to file a FAFSA. If you are a student, a parent, or a borrower of a federal loan program you will now be asked to create new log-in credentials known as the FSA ID.
According the U.S. Department of Education, the FSA ID- a username and password benefits you in four ways:
- It removes your personally identifiable information, like your Social Security number, from your log-in credentials
- It creates a more secure and efficient way to verify your information when you log in to access your federal student aid information online
- It gives you the ability to easily update your personal information, like your phone number, email address, or your name.
- It allows you to easily retrieve your username and password by requesting a secure code be sent to your email address by answering challenge questions
Creating an FSA ID is simple and should only take a few minutes. For more information about creating an FSA ID please refer to The How to Create an FSA ID Tip Sheet, created by the U.S. Department of Education.
LHU's suggested deadline date for filing the FAFSA is March 15th. Filing early is crucial because funds may be limited. If you miss the March 15th deadline, you should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible. Pennsylvania undergraduate students should note the FAFSA deadline for the Pennsylvania State Grant is May 1st.
When submitting the FAFSA families can now link the application to their federal tax information. This process is referred to as the IRS Data Retrieval. This tool allows applicants who have already filed their federal tax return to prefill the answers to some of the questions on the FAFSA. This can save the family some time and also reduce the likelihood that a mistake is made when answering certain questions.
Students who are eligible for the Pennsylvania State Grant will receive an email from PHEAA. In the email they will be asked to complete the State Grant Form. First time recipients must complete a form or PHEAA will not forward the funds to LHU. To complete the form students can go to www.pheaa.org and log in through “account access”.
Note: Applying for financial aid is an annual process. You must reapply for financial aid every year during your college career.
IRS Data Retrieval Tool
WHAT IS THE IRS DATA RETRIEVAL TOOL?
When completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), student and parents are required to provide details about their income. For most people, this includes data from the previous year’s federal tax returns. To streamline the application process parents and students may transfer required federal tax data from the IRS to their FAFSA by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT).
HOW DO I ACCESS THE IRS DATA RETRIEVAL TOOL?
When completing the online FAFSA, www.fafsa.gov, the IRS DRT can be accessed in the “Financial Information” section of the application. It will only be available if the student or the parent(s) indicate they have already completed their federal tax return for the year.
WHO CAN USE THE IRS DATA RETRIEVAL TOOL?
After electronically filing your federal taxes, the data should be available to access through the IRS DRT within 3 weeks. It may take up to 8 to 11 weeks for the data to be available if the tax return was completed on paper. Also, there are certain tax filing statuses that make students or parents unable to use the tool. These statuses include:
- Parent or student filed as Married filing separately
- Parent or student filed as Married Head of Household
- Parent or student filed an amended tax return
- Parent or student filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS TO TRANSFER MY FEDERAL TAX DATA?
If you are eligible to use the IRS DRT, the parent or student will be required to provide their Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID). If you don’t have your FSA ID you may apply for it at this point. After entering the information you will be transferred to the IRS website where identification is validated, including your exact address on record with the IRS. If a successful match is made, your federal tax data will be displayed and you can then transfer the data directly to your FAFSA. Do not make any adjustments to the transferred data or it will delay the processing of your financial aid application.
WHAT IF I NEED TO COMPLETE THE FAFSA BEFORE MY TAXES ARE COMPLETED?
You may estimate your federal tax information for the FAFSA to meet your financial aid application due date. After you complete your tax return you will be able to update your FAFSA with actual tax data.
HOW DO I USE THE IRS DRT TO UPDATE MY FEDERAL TAX DATA ON THE FAFSA?
Log into your FAFSA by visiting www.fafsa.gov and entering the student’s identifying information. Then click “Make FAFSA Corrections” and enter the student’s FSA ID and password. Review each section of the application, verifying that all initially reported information is correct and make corrections if necessary. If you initially estimated your federal tax data, in the “Financial Information” section, change your tax filing status from “will file” to “already completed.” The IRS DRT will then be available to use. For specific instructions on how to complete this process, please refer to the Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool document.
AWARDING PROCESS FOR NEW STUDENTS AND TRANSFER STUDENTS
All new students who have a complete, current FAFSA on file and are accepted to Lock Haven University (LHU) will be reviewed by the Office of Financial Aid to determine financial aid eligibility. An award letter, that summarizes the aid, will be sent to the permanent address on file beginning in late March. The financial aid award letter information can also be viewed on the myHaven portal under Financial Aid.
Please note that all new LHU students who intend to take the Direct Stafford Loans, if awarded, must complete entrance counseling and a Master Promissory Note at http://studentloans.gov/
AWARDING PROCESS FOR RETURNING STUDENTS
Before financial aid is awarded, the Financial Aid Office must complete the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) review for each enrolled student after each semester’s grades have been posted. For more information about this review, please see the information in the Satisfactory Academic Progress tab.
Once the SAP review is complete, we will determine the financial aid eligibility for all students who have a current, complete FAFSA on file, are registered for the upcoming semester, and have completed Federal Verification, if selected. An award letter, that summarizes the aid for fall and spring semesters, will be sent to the permanent address on file in mid-June. It will also be viewable on the myHaven portal under Financial Aid. Students who start their enrollment with LHU in the spring semester and have a current FAFSA on file, should receive an award letter in late November.
How Awards are Determined
Need is the primary determining factor when calculating financial aid. Need is defined as the total Cost of Attendance (COA) minus the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is derived from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and is calculated using your family's previous year income, if applicable, and other financial information.
If you want to calculate an estimated EFC, go to www.fafsa.ed.gov and click on the FAFSA4caster link. It is important to complete the questions on this estimator as accurately as possible. The EFC that is calculated for you can be used for planning purposes, but it is not guaranteed. The official EFC, calculated after you submit a signed FAFSA, will be used to determine your financial aid.
All financial aid awards for undergraduate students are based on full-time enrollment, regardless of the number of credits the student is enrolled when the aid is determined. If a student is enrolled part-time, the aid will be adjusted accordingly after the add period has ended as determined by the Registrar's Office. A revised award letter will be sent to the student and the aid will be viewable online via the myHaven portal.
Award Letter Information
The financial aid award on your award letter is valid to the extent that the information upon which it is based is accurate at the time of the award and remains accurate throughout the award period. Revisions may be necessary due to changes in funds made available to the University by governmental or other sources or due to any other circumstances, including errors in the award itself, in order to prevent overawards and to maintain the integrity of the financial aid programs according to governing laws and regulations.
Lock Haven University does not guarantee substitution of funds for any portion of the award which is declined by the student or reduced by government agencies.
Students who withdraw and return to the University on a later date will be re-evaluated for financial aid eligibility.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
Federal regulations require LHU to establish, publish, and apply standards to monitor academic progress toward completion of a student’s degree program, referred to as Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). All students must be meeting SAP in order to continue receiving Federal Student Aid (FSA). FSA includes such forms of financial aid as the Pell Grant, Direct Student Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans for Parents. SAP will be evaluated at the end of each enrollment term (fall, spring and summer) regardless of whether a student received financial aid during that semester.
Important - Please Note: A successful appeal of academic suspension is unrelated to financial aid suspension and does not result in reinstatement of a student's financial aid eligibility. Appealing one's financial aid suspension status is a separate process.
For more information about the SAP policy please refer to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Document and the Satisfactory Academic Progress Frequently Asked Questions Document.
PHEAA STATE GRANT SAP POLICY
Students are required to meet SAP to continue eligibility for the PHEAA State Grant. For each academic year (Fall, Winter, and Spring and/or Summer term) during which State Grant aid is received, a student must successfully complete the minimum number of credits appropriate to the student’s enrollment status during the terms for which State Grant aid was received.
Before crediting a State Grant to a recipient’s account, the school must certify that, for the last academic year during which the student received state grant aid, the student completed the required minimum total number of credits or clock hours for the terms to which grant aid was applied. In other words, if the student last received a State Grant aid during the 2012-2013 academic year and received two full‑time semesters of State Grant aid (a total of 1.00), the student must have successfully completed 24 new semester credits during or since those two terms in order to be eligible for the next academic year of aid.
The Federal Process selects a number of FAFSA applications for a process called Federal Verification. This process is used to determine that the information provided on the FAFSA is accurate. The Financial Office is mandated to complete these reviews to be in accordance with Federal guidelines.
In April, the Financial Aid Office will begin requesting, from selected students, the documentation needed to complete the verification review. A student must respond to this request immediately to ensure timely processing and disbursement of his/her financial aid. No aid payments will be made nor will loans be processed until the Verification process is completed. If the required information or other steps in the Verification process are not completed according to the establishment schedule, all federal financial aid for the academic year will be cancelled.
For more information about Verification, please see the Federal Verification Document
Once the next academic year begins, the financial aid funds will be equally divided between the fall and spring semesters and disbursed accordingly as long as the student is enrolled full-time and is meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress. In addition, students must be meeting all requirements and conditions of the financial aid awards.
Students who are enrolled part-time (11 credits and under) will not have most of their aid applied to their account until the end of the add period as determined by the Registrar's Office. The number of credits the student is enrolled can impact eligibility and the amount of the aid the student receives.
Students who have been awarded scholarships by entities outside of LHU should forward a copy of the notification to the Financial Aid Office as scholarships must be included in the total financial aid awarded to the student per federal guidelines.
Federal and state regulations require Financial Aid to consider all sources of financial assistance when awarding aid. Those sources include things like scholarships, athletic grants, tuition waivers, and Private Alternative Loans. If your Financial Aid Award Letter did not include all of the assistance you are receiving, chances are the Financial Aid Office was not aware of all your awards when your financial aid was packaged. The addition of other aid sources may cause an overaward, which means that Financial Aid may have to reduce one or more of your awards to keep your aid within established limits. You can help prevent an overaward by informing the Financial Aid Office of all sources of financial assistance as soon as you know about them.