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Financial Aid FAQs

Answers to Common Questions About Financial Aid

What is financial aid?

Any kind of funding to help pay for college is considered financial aid. Financial aid comes from four different sources – the federal government, the state government, private sources, and Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology. Grants and scholarships are considered gift aid; students are not required to repay the money received. Loans, typically offered at low-interest rates, are to be repaid by students usually after completion of their degree.

When will I find out how much financial aid I can expect to receive?

The Office of Financial Aid sends a notification via email to the student’s Stevens email address after the FAFSA has been reviewed to notify students to log into self-service to review their financial aid package on their award letter. The award letter lists the type of aid and the amount of each type of aid that the student can expect to receive each semester. If changes are made to the original award letter, students will receive an email notification to review changes on their self-service portal. 

How much aid will I be eligible to receive?

The amount of financial aid a student is qualified to receive is determined by the results of the FAFSA. The FAFSA asks about your family size, the number of family members in college, and the student’s and parents’ income and assets. The FAFSA application tells the Office of Financial Aid how much you are eligible to receive in federal grants and loans. The PA State Grant and special programs applications determine the amount of state aid that is received by the student. Scholarship amounts are designated by the donor of the scholarship.

The types of financial aid are Gift Aid and Self-Help Aid.

  • Gift Aid: Grants and Scholarships that do not need to be paid back.
  • Self-Help Aid: Federal Work Study, where students with financial need work to earn money while enrolled at the College. Loans are broken down into two categories, federal and private and need to be repaid.
What is my cost of attendance?

The Cost of Attendance (COA), also known as the “Student Budget”, takes into account direct expenses (tuition, room, and board) and estimated expenses like transportation, books, and tools. The school uses this number to determine the maximum amount of financial aid a student can receive for that award year. Note when reviewing your Financial Aid Package: for students who borrow loans through the Federal Direct Loan program, an average loan fee will be added to the Cost of Attendance. Students who receive the Stevens Grant will have a COA of $0 for books and tools, as the College provides them. Visit our Tuition and Fees webpage for additional information on costs to attend the College.

I was selected for verification. What does that mean?

Verification is a process the Department of Education uses to make sure that the information reported on the FAFSA is accurate. We will notify you of the information needed to perform verification as the documents needed can vary between students.

Verification should be completed within 30 days. Failure to complete the process will result in an ineligibility for Title IV Federal funds until the process is completed.

What do I do if I cannot provide parental information on the FAFSA?

Please contact the Office of Financial Aid to discuss the details of why you are unable to provide parent information. In some cases, we are able to process the FAFSA without parent data. Additional paperwork and documentation will be required.

I received my award letter and I still need more money. What can I do?

Your parents may consider applying for a Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). If a parent is denied a PLUS loan, the student may borrow more in the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. There are also non-federal alternative loans available. In addition, the college offers a payment plan that allows you to pay each semester’s balance in monthly installments.

Why do I have to put my parents’ tax information on the FAFSA if they are not paying for school?

The federal government expects both parents and the student to contribute to the student’s educational costs. Regardless if a parent will or will not contribute to your education, their income and assets must be reported and used to determine your eligibility for financial aid. If you live with a parent and stepparent, both the parent’s and stepparent’s income information will be used to determine your aid eligibility. Whether or not your parents claim you on a federal tax return, you will still need to use their income information on the FAFSA.

How does dropping or failing a course affect future financial aid eligibility?

Withdrawing from a class after Drop/Add may mean that a student will be short the number of credits needed for satisfactory academic progress (SAP). For more information on our SAP policy click here.

One of my parents/caregivers lost their job, and my family is facing hardships. Can the Financial Aid Office help me?

If your family experiences a change in income due to unusual circumstances (e.g. loss of employment, separation or divorce, high non-reimbursed medical expenses, etc.), contact the Office of Financial Aid about a possible reevaluation of aid eligibility.

What happens to my financial aid if I drop a course during the semester?

Aid may be adjusted if a change in enrollment occurs during the drop/add period. The student is strongly advised to seek specific guidance from the Financial Aid staff. The potential exists for aid to be canceled depending on the particular situation and the policies in effect which regulate the administration of aid.

When will I receive my refund?

If a student receives more financial aid than their charges, a credit balance will occur. When this occurs, the business office will issue a refund in the form of a paper check for the student to pick up in the business office. Refunds from Title IV Federal aid will be issued within 14 days of the date of the credit balance. Usually 4-5 weeks into the semester.

Contact Us


Hartzell Building, Room 105 750 East King Street, Lancaster, PA 17602

Office Hours: Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Financial Aid Staff

Emily Smoker, Director of Financial Aid

Devonne Pinkard, Financial Aid Counselor