Four Ways Summer Student Aid Is Different from Fall and Spring

Student aid functions differently in the summer semester because of federal aid policies and the session-based schedule of courses. If you plan to use aid in the summer, these tips will help you prepare.

1. You may not have any aid left

Summer is the third and final semester of the academic year, and typically does not have separate sources of student aid. You may have limited aid, or no aid, remaining for the summer depending on how much you used this year at Penn State or other schools. This often occurs if you attended both fall and spring semesters, and used all of the aid you were awarded during those semesters. If you use Stafford Loans you can estimate your remaining amounts by comparing the loans on your eLion Student Aid Summary to the annual loan limits.

2. Most aid must be requested

For continuing students, the first step in getting student aid for the summer is to schedule your courses. You will have time to secure your aid after scheduling, since the first tuition bills will be due May 2.

If you have Stafford Loan or PA State Grant funds available, you can manually request them on eLion starting April 1 by clicking “Summer Direct Stafford Loan” and “Summer PA State Grant,” respectively. Pell Grant recipients who have funds remaining for the summer will see them post automatically within 1-2 weeks after scheduling courses.

3. Your aid may not disburse until July

In the summer, your course load in both sessions is combined to establish your eligibility for student aid. Your funds cannot disburse until all of these classes have started.

If you are taking a course that starts in the second session, you will not receive an aid disbursement until July at the earliest. This will also delay the refund of any excess aid you may have, so plan to purchase books out of pocket. Penn State does not offer book vouchers.

Additionally, a mid-semester drop or withdrawal may make you ineligible for summer aid due to the minimum enrollment requirements. If you lose your aid, any account balance must be paid out of pocket.

4. Academic Progress will affect your aid

Your course completion rate, cumulative number of attempted credits, and degree status can always affect your aid eligibility in accordance with the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy. As a result, your academic progress in fall and spring will directly impact your eligibility for the summer. Common events that affect academic progress include dropping courses, withdrawing, and receiving F grades in previous semesters.

Learn more at our upcoming webinar

We will provide more information on these topics and answer your questions in our Student Financial Aid Q&A Webinar on Thursday, April 3 from 8:00-9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  Register today!

Contact Us

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances, please contact the Office of Student Aid for World Campus and Continuing Education at or 814-867-4244.