Frequently-Asked Questions

Q. Where is the Office of Financial Aid located?

The Office of Financial Aid is located on the second floor of the 454 House.

Q. What is a FAFSA?  How do I complete it?

FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  By completing this form, you are submitting your required financial information for processing, so Allegheny College can determine your eligibility for financial aid.  Many states also use the FAFSA information to determine a student’s eligibility for state grants.  The FAFSA also serves as the financial aid application for Allegheny need-based aid.  To begin the process of completing the FAFSA the first time (or the FAFSA Renewal in subsequent years), go to www.fafsa.ed.gov.  Students and parents of dependent students must sign the FAFSA with their Federal PINs for the FAFSA to be processed.  FAFSAs will remain unprocessed if they do not have the required PINs.  The FAFSA should be completed by February 15 for new students and April 15 for returning students.  Ideally, families should have their federal income tax returns completed first so they can enter accurate information on the FAFSA; however, you can enter estimated information if federal income taxes are not yet complete.  It is better to file by the deadline with estimated information than wait for actual figures and file late.  It is very easy to update FAFSA information later, once taxes are complete.  The Office of Financial Aid is happy to update FAFSA information with actual tax figures for families that file with estimated information.

Q.  What is Allegheny College’s Federal School Code?

When filing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), students will need to enter Allegheny College’s Federal School Code 003230.  This will allow the results from the FAFSA to be sent to Allegheny College.

Q. Why do I need to fill out the FAFSA every year?

Students must submit a FAFSA renewal every year if they wish to be considered for need-based aid for the next academic year.  Federal regulations require new FAFSA information each year.  In addition to filing the FAFSA, students and parents with extraordinary financial circumstances should explain the situation in writing, attach supporting documentation, and submit their request for review to the Office of Financial Aid.

Q. I don’t think that my family will qualify for any aid. Do I still have to complete the FAFSA?

Many families believe that they won’t qualify for financial aid, but they are, in fact, eligible for some types of aid.  It is impossible to know what aid is available to you unless you apply. In any case, the FAFSA is free so it should be completed at least the student’s first year, so a family can know for sure what is available.  Financial aid such as the Stafford Unsubsidized loan and the PLUS loan for creditworthy parents are options available to all students (regardless of financial need) if they complete the FAFSA.

Q. How do I know which kind of loan is right for me?

There are several publications in the Office of Financial Aid that discuss the differences and benefits of different types of loan. If you questions regarding loans, please contact our office to make an appointment with Karole Jastromb, our Financial Aid Advisor in charge of loans.

Q. Are my parents responsible for all of my loans?

No, the Federal Stafford and Federal Perkins loans are student loans and you are the borrower who is responsible for paying back those loans.  Only if a parent borrows from the PLUS loan program, or is a cosigner for a private loan for you, is your parent responsible for repayment.

Q. What is PHEAA?

PHEAA stands for the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, which is a “full service student financial aid organization and a national leader in providing affordable and efficient access to higher education.” PHEAA is an excellent source of information for Pennsylvania students about access to state grants and other state aid programs. Not only do they offer information about specific scholarships, grants, etc., they also have several timelines and guidebooks about entering and paying for college, so your transition into college can be as smooth as possible. Please take advantage of their services by going to http://pheaa.org/.

Q. What is the difference between a grant and a scholarship?

While both are a form of “grant assistance,” or money that you do not need to repay, there are usually differences between them.  Typically, a grant is financial need-based money awarded to a student by a government agency, non-profit organization, or college.   Some scholarships may have a need-based component, but most are merit-based and have distinct requirements which you must fulfill to receive and keep the scholarship. The Trustee Scholarship at Allegheny College is entirely merit-based.  It is determined once a student has been accepted for admission and is renewable for a total of 8 semesters.

Q. How can I better understand my financial aid package?

You can read the information provided each year with your financial aid package for an explanation of each type of aid.  You may also contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional information or clarification about your financial aid.

Q. I can’t remember my PIN number.  What should I do?

You can “Request a duplicate PIN” at www.pin.ed.gov.   You should be able to easily access you PIN number after you have submitted the required information.