Frequently Asked Questions

I've never applied for financial assistance before, what steps do I follow?

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at
  2. Review your Student Aid Report (SAR) sent to you by the Central Processor.
  3. Receive your award notice from the College of Medicine.
  4. Sign the Master Promissory Notes for Federal Direct Stafford Loans and Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans.
  5. Complete a Master Promissory Note for Perkins and University Loans if applicable.
  6. Complete verification if notified by Penn State.
  7. Search for scholarships.

Are there financial aid deadlines?

We recommend that accepted students file their FAFSA prior to February 28th and currently enrolled students file their FAFSA prior to April 15th for maximum aid eligibility consideration.

What is the difference between a Federal Direct Stafford Loan, Federal Perkins Loan, University Loan, Federal Direct Graduate PLUS and Alternative Loan?

  • Federal Stafford Loans- A federal education loan issued by a participating lender.  Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans are need-based and the interest is paid by the federal government while the student is in school, grace, or deferment.  Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans are not need-based and interest begins to accrue from date of disbursement.  Interest rates vary annually.
  • Federal Perkins Loan- A need-based federal loan awarded by any school participating in the Federal Perkins loan program.  Interest fixed at 5%.
  • University Loan- A need-based institutional loan administered by the Office of Loans and Scholarships at Penn State.  Interest fixed at 6%.
  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan - A federal education loan issued by the U.S. Department of Education to credit-worthy students in graduate or professional degree programs.  Interest rate is fixed at 7.9% and interest begins to accrue from date of disbursement.
  • Alternative or Private Loan- Used if the students cost of attendance exceeds the annual limits of other sources of financial assistance or to replace federal loans if student does not qualify for federal money.  Approval is based upon credit history.  Interest rates vary and are higher than those for most other student loans.

If the FAFSA indicates that I am independent for financial aid consideration, why do I need to include parental data?

Parental data is not necessary if you only want to be considered for Federal Stafford Loans or Alternative Loans.  Parental data is required if you want to be considered for Federal Perkins Loans, University Loans, or University Scholarships.

How do I make changes to the loan amounts listed on my Financial Aid Award?

You may email the Student Aid Office at with your adjustments.

How do I let the Student Aid Office know if there is a change in my financial circumstances?

Complete the Special Circumstances Evaluation Form.  Remember to provide a detailed explanation of the change and attach required documentation before submitting the form to the Student Aid Office.


Is there financial assistance to relocate to Hershey?

Student aid resources cannot be accessed before matriculation in August.  We recommend that students budget properly in advance to have financial resources for moving expenses as well as the first month's rent and security deposit for their apartment.  Refunds for living expenses are available at the end of August for the fall semester of medical school.

How do I obtain my credit report?

You should obtain a copy of your credit report every year.  You should check for any discrepancies and resolve any issues before applying for additional credit.  You can receive a free credit report at  Credit scores are available on-line by paying a fee or joining a service.  The three major credit reporting bureaus are Equifax (, Experian (, and TransUnion (  Companies are allowed to choose which of these bureaus they want to use to determine the credit score for their products so you should check your credit report from all three.

What financial assistance is available if I am an international student?

Most forms of financial aid offered at Penn State College of Medicine are provided by the federal government and are available only to U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents. There may be private loans that are available for International or Canadian students. Information regarding these loans can be found on the Penn State University website. Additional financial information for international students can be found on the Global Penn State website.

Is it possible to have my residency classification changed for tuition charges?

Maybe.  Residency classification is determined prior to matriculation by the admissions office.  Students who have resided in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for other than educational purposes for at least a period of 12 months immediately preceding his/her initial enrollment at Penn State is presumed to have a Pennsylvania domicile.  A student may challenge his/her residence classification by filing a written petition with the admission office prior to initial enrollment or the Office of the Controller of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center once enrolled.  The petition for reclassification must be in writing and should consist of a cover letter which provides an explanation as to how circumstances have changed since the initial determination of residency status, including copies of documentation to support a change in classification.  Each petition is reviewed individually on the basis of all evidence submitted.  Suggested documentation would include: the deed or lease to your principal domicile, a Pennsylvania state tax return, Pennsylvania driver's license, voter registration, vehicle registration, any other documentation that will document a principal domicile in Pennsylvania for other than educational purposes.