How To Apply


Visit FAFSA On The Web to help identify what you need to do before, during and after filling out FAFSA. It will also help you with any questions you might have as you complete your application. Use the 2015-2016 FAFSA on The Web Worksheet (pdf) as a guide by completing the worksheet before entering data on the FAFSA.

For information on who is eligible for federal aid, visit the Federal Student Aid siteIf you are an adult learner, undocumented resident, or otherwise in a unique situation, please access the following ‘tip sheets’ for more information on filing the FAFSA and the aid for which you might qualify.


Step 1 - Apply for a PIN

Visit the Federal Student Aid site to apply for a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for the student and custodial parent(s) (if dependent student) from the Department of Education.  Your custodial parent is defined as the parent you lived with most (if parents are divorced) during the past twelve (12) months.

Step 2 - Complete the FAFSA

Beginning January 1, and prior to March 1 (priority filing deadline), students should annually complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To ensure that the priority deadline of March 1 is met, the FAFSA allows you to provide estimated information. If using estimated income, you must update your FAFSA data once your tax forms are complete. We recommend using the IRS Data Retrieval tool.

The FAFSA is the only application required by PSU (School Code 002591) and must be completed annually.  Once the data is submitted, the Department of Education will forward your FAFSA information electronically to all schools you authorize to receive your data. PSU draws in FAFSA data weekly.

The FAFSA ensures fair and equitable determination of family resources for each applicant by using Federal Methodology in computing an expected family contribution (EFC) [pdf]. The Department of Education Central Processing System (CPS) provides the needs analysis calculation to PSU where trained personnel review and verify the information to determine student aid eligibility. The Financial Aid Team assumes that a student and family will contribute toward the cost of education according to their means.

Only students admitted to a degree-seeking program (i.e. Bachelor’s degree) will receive a financial aid award.

Step 3- March 1 is our Priority Deadline

PSU’s Priority filing deadline for the FAFSA is March 1 for the following school year.

All applicants should adhere to the March 1 deadline or they may be considered LATE and will only receive financial aid pending availability of funds. Normally only Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Federal Direct Loans, and State Scholarships/Grants (if applicable) are available for late applicants.

Note: The March 1 deadline refers to the initial filing of the FAFSA only. Subsequent paperwork may be submitted or changes made to the FAFSA after March 1 without penalty of being considered late.

Step 4- You May be Selected for Verification

The federal government or PSU may select your FAFSA application for a process called Verification.

stop signPSU will request any documentation necessary to complete Verification. Please do not send any unrequested documentation as this may require additional clarification from PSU and slow the awarding process when identifying eligible aid programs.

If selected for Verification, you will receive an email from the PSU Financial Aid Team indicating the need for additional documentation.   This Verification must be completed four (4) weeks prior to the end of the term for which aid is requested.  Any FAFSA selected for Verification will require use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or an official IRS Tax Return Transcript to satisfy federal FAFSA requirements.

Only after the Verification process has been completed will PSU be able to complete your financial aid award.  Be sure you immediately return any requested forms to avoid delays.

Note: Please allow adequate time for staff to review your documents.   We may need to ask for additional documentation if further clarification is needed.

Step 5 - Notifications

PSU’s award notification process starts in March for NEW incoming accepted students and mid-spring for returning students. Once all requirements requested by the Financial Aid Team have been satisfied, your application will be considered complete.

New incoming students will receive notification of requirements via the email account that they supplied on the FAFSA form, while financial aid awards will be mailed.

PSU is committed to a paperless process as our contribution to “Go Green” for returning students. Returning students will want to check their myPlymouth account and campus email accounts for notifications. Our applications are reviewed and financial aid awarded (packaged) on a weekly basis.

Invite your parents to myPlymouth for Families! The myPlymouth portal is available so parents and families can access student information, too. To establish a myPlymouth for Families account, current PSU students must invite family members.  Please be advised that inviting family gives Student Account Services permission to speak with them about your bill. It does not allow the Financial Aid Team to speak with them about your aid, however; we may only speak to the parent(s) listed on the FAFSA about your aid.

Step 6 - Acceptance of Your Award

All financial aid awards will be considered accepted unless the student uses our information request form to notify the PSU Financial Aid Team in writing of his or her wish to decline the entire award or a portion of the award.  Please see Terms of Award.

Step 7 - Scholarships

Students are required to notify the Financial Aid Team and PSU Student Account Services of all non-PSU scholarships received.

Please be advised that outside scholarships may or may not affect your current financial aid award. PSU’s policy for treatment of outside scholarships is that they will first be used to meet “unmet” need, then any adjustments will be made in the following order:

1.       adjustment to Federal Work-Study eligibility,
2.       adjustment to Federal Direct Unsubsidized and Subsidized Loans,
3.       adjustment to any need-based institutional grants

Step 8 - Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling

Students wishing to access any Federal Loans, including Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans or Federal Perkins loans must complete Master Promissory Notes and online Entrance Counseling.

In addition, parents wishing to access Federal Parent PLUS loans must complete a Master Promissory Note in their own name.

Step 9 - Special Circumstances

If families have special financial circumstances which they were unable to report on the FAFSA, they may request that PSU review these circumstances.  The PSU Financial Aid Team will review and, if possible, adjust awards based on documented circumstances.

Once the PSU team receives your completed Information Request form, we will notify you of needed documentation. All appeals require that PSU first Verify all information that was reported on the original FAFSA. After all documentation is received, a review will be completed to see if additional eligibility can be identified. Caution: Previously awarded aid may be lost if inaccurate information was reported on the original FAFSA. This may occur when families have reported “estimated” income which would have been used to identify eligibility for aid and, subsequently, actual income (as reported to the IRS) changes eligibility and/or when families fail to report untaxed income (i.e. retirement funds not taxed for a current year). Changes for which we will review include situations such as: illness, loss of job, reemployment, loss of a parent, or changes in number of children in college

April 7th, 2014 by Eric

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