The first step toward receiving financial aid is to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) any time after October 1. Applications completed after our April 1 filing deadline will be processed on a rolling basis.
By completing the FAFSA, undergraduate students will be considered for federal aid, which can include Direct Student Loans, Federal Grants, such as Pell and SEOG, State Grants such as the PHEAA state Grant, and Federal Work-Study Programs.
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool securely transfers federal tax information directly from the IRS to the FAFSA, saving time and increasing accuracy. The retrieval tool is available 1-2 weeks after filing an electronic return or 6-8 weeks after filing a paper return. Remember to complete the FAFSA by April 1.
This IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) Tutorial will help you to understand more about how to use the DRT process.
After completing the FAFSA, additional information may be needed if the aid has not yet disbursed to the student's account. For example, The Department of Education selects 1 in every 3 students for the Federal Verification Process.
Financial Aid Timeline
The Pitt-Johnstown financial aid process, month-by-month
Obtaining financial aid requires many steps and procedures. Here is a typical, year-long timetable outlining the process. Click on the months below for timeline details.
Students and parents should apply for a federal student aid ID (FSA ID). Log on to https://fsaid.ed.gov to apply for a FSA ID to use as your electronic signature for your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other financial aid-related forms, including U.S. Department of Education records online. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available for completion January 1. Complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after this date for each academic year you wish to receive financial aid. Pitt-Johnstown’s federal school code is 008815, which appears as the University of Pittsburgh.
Tips from the pros:
- Create a folder for your financial aid documents. That way, all important financial aid-related information is kept in one place.
- You do not have to wait to be accepted to a school before filing the FAFSA, and you may list up to ten schools on the online application. List the school that you are most interested in attending first.
- If you have not yet completed your federal income tax return, use estimated tax information to ensure that you meet Pitt-Johnstown’s April 1 priority filing deadline. Once you complete your federal income tax return, be sure to update the tax information on your FAFSA with the actual figures.
- Keep a copy of your completed FAFSA for future reference.
- When completing the FAFSA, you are applying for federal, state, and institutional aid at Pitt-Johnstown. This is the only application Pitt-Johnstown requires for financial aid consideration; however, upon receipt of the FAFSA, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) will send first-time filers a State Grant Status Notice to collect additional information for state grant consideration. Be sure to complete and return this information to PHEAA promptly.
- After filing the FAFSA, you will receive your Student Aid Report (SAR), which is a copy of all the information you supplied on the FAFSA. Review your SAR for accuracy and make sure that Pitt-Johnstown’s school code is listed (008815). If any information is incorrect or incomplete, correct it by following the instructions provided with the SAR. If your SAR is correct, you do not need to do anything further, but you should keep it in your financial aid file. If you do not receive your SAR within 3-4 weeks of completing the FAFSA, you should call 1-800-433-3243 for assistance.
Begin preparing your federal income tax returns. Keep copies of every document sent to the IRS, including federal tax returns, W-2 forms, and all schedules; you may be required to submit copies of this documentation to the Financial Aid Office if you are notified that you have been selected for verification.
Complete and file the FAFSA as soon as possible. In order to be considered for Pitt-Johnstown’s campus-based aid, which includes the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), and Federal Work Study, you must complete the FAFSA by April 1.
Once you complete the FAFSA, you may be randomly selected for a process called verification, which requires us to collect tax information from you. Should you be selected, you will receive notivication from the Financial Aid Office.We begin sending initial verification letters in March and continue on a rolling basis as FAFSA information is received. If you are selected for verification, please send the required information to us as quickly as possible. Failure to submit will delay the processing of your financial aid and may prevent the timely disbursement of aid to your student account.
Pitt-Johnstown’s FAFSA priority filing deadline is April 1. Be sure to complete the FAFSA by this date each year to be considered for all types of financial aid available at Pitt-Johnstown.
Watch for your Financial Aid Award Letter, which is usually sent at this time to students whose records are complete. Award Letters are sent continually as FAFSA information is received and as students supply supplemental information, if requested.
Review your award letter and complete the Financial Aid Acceptance Form.
Pennsylvania residents who missed the FAFSA priority filing deadline of April 1, must complete the FAFSA by May 1 to meet the filing deadline for the PHEAA State Grant.
PHEAA begins notifying Pennsylvania filers of their state grant eligibility in mid-May.
- Attend Orientation in June or July and bring your financial aid questions with you.
- First-time borrowers through the Direct Stafford Loan must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling. The MPN remains valid for up to 10 years, provided you remain continuously enrolled during that time period.
- First-time Perkins Loan borrowers must complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling.
- Should you need additional funding, apply for Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) or Alternative Loans. To apply for the Federal Direct PLUS, the parent of a dependent student must complete the Federal Direct PLUS Request Form and the Master Promissory Note (MPN) located at www.studentloans.gov.
Tips from the pros:
- We suggest that you borrow conservatively, especially during the first year, as you may need to borrow money each year you are enrolled in school to meet the cost of education. Plan accordingly and keep debt manageable. Keep copies of all the loan applications that you complete.
- When selecting a lender for Alternative loans, choose a lender that best suits your needs as a borrower. Although you may prefer a local bank, some larger lending institutions are able to offer special incentives such as delayed repayment options, interest rate reductions, principal rebates, and low or no upfront fees.
- Apply for Direct PLUS and Alternative Loans for the entire academic year. This allows for the timely disbursement of funds, and you will not have to reapply for the spring term.
Tuition rates for the upcoming year are set by the University of Pittsburgh’s board in July.
In late July, an email notification will be sent from PittPAY letting you know that your fall term charges are due. PittPAY emails are sent to students and their Authorized Users. The due date will be posted on the Account Summary page.
Beginning July 15, we will post work study jobs online. Students must be eligible in order to participate in the work study program. It is the student’s responsibility to locate a position and to contact the departmental supervisor. The Financial Aid Office will not place you in a job, and we do not guarantee employment. Be sure to have your original social security card and photo ID in order to be placed on payroll.
Complete the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN), the Federal Perkins Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling, if you have not already done so. Please refer to the second bullet in June for information.
During this academic year, if your family’s income will be significantly less than the income reported on your current FAFSA, complete a Reduction of Income form and return it to the Financial Aid Office for further consideration. All students who request a Reduction of Income must complete the verification process. Please contact the Financial Aid Office at 814-269-7045 or 1-800-881-5544 for additional information, if necessary.
Check your student account to make sure the appropriate financial aid has been applied to your account.
Make sure you have no financial holds on your account, so you are able to register for spring term classes.
Familiarize yourself with Pitt-Johnstown’s Satisfactory Academic Progress guidelines for receiving financial aid, and plan your class schedule accordingly. Be sure to satisfy the credit and GPA requirements so that you qualify for financial aid the following year.
Notification emails will be sent from PittPAY regarding spring term charges in late November. The email will be sent to students and Authorized Users. The due date will be posted in PittPAY under the Account Summary page.
If you need additional funds for the Spring term only, contact your lender to complete the required paperwork.
Applying for financial aid is an annual process, so prepare to file the FAFSA again for the next academic year.