Understanding the Different Types of Financial Aid

Your financial aid package may consist of grants, scholarships, loans and/or work-study. The Financial Aid staff will attempt to meet as much of your need as possible using federal, state and college funding. 

  • Grants and scholarships are FREE money that does not need to be repaid.
  • Loans are funds that must be repaid with interest. 
  • Work-Study provides part-time jobs for students with financial need, allowing you to earn money to help pay educational expenses.

Use the information on this page to get a general idea of the types of financial aid that may be available to you.

Federal Aid

Federal aid comes from the federal government. The office of Federal Student Aid provides grants, loans, and work-study funds.

Pell Grant

Federal Pell Grants are awarded to students who display exceptional financial need and have not earned a bachelor's, graduate or professional degree. It does not need to be repaid. Amounts can change yearly. Determination of a student’s award is based on completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $6,095 for the 2018–19 award year. Learn More

Supplemental Opportunity Grant 

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is awarded as a grant to students with exceptional financial need (determined by the FAFSA), and gives priority to students who receive Federal Pell Grants and have demonstrated the highest financial need. The maximum amount a student may receive is $1,000 per academic year. The FSEOG award is applied to the student’s account once a semester. Learn More

Work-Study

Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study. Learn more about the Work-Study program at Westmoreland here.

Direct Student Loans

The Direct Loan program is provided and administered by the Federal government, U.S. Department of Education. Student loan borrowing cannot exceed the cost of attendance, nor may you borrow over the annual and lifetime aggregates that are set for the Direct Loan and your program of study. The Department of Education assesses an origination fee on each loan upon disbursement. The type of loan you are offered is based upon the results of the FAFSA. Learn more here.

  • Subsidized Direct Loans: The Subsidized Direct Loan is awarded on the basis of need. You will not be charged any interest prior to repayment or during any authorized periods of deferment. The federal government pays the interest on the loan until the time of repayment.
  • Unsubsidized Direct Loans: The Unsubsidized Direct Loan is not awarded on the basis of need. You are responsible for any accruing interest during in-school and deferment periods. Interest accruing during those periods may be paid or capitalized as agreed by the borrower and lender.

Direct PLUS (Parent) Loans

The Direct Parent PLUS loan is a federal loan that parents of dependent undergraduate students can apply for to help pay educational expenses. The loan is based on the parents' credit score, and the borrower should not have adverse credit history in order to be approved. The U.S. Department of Education is the lender. The maximum loan amount is calculated as the student’s cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received.

  • Only one parent needs to apply online. If the loan is approved, the parent must complete the Master Promissory Note online. After the application is finalized, the calculated award will be added to the student’s award package. All funds are received electronically and are posted to the student’s billing account.
  • If a parent/borrower is unable to secure a PLUS loan, the undergraduate dependent student will be eligible for an additional unsubsidized loan ($4000/year) to help pay for his or her education.

State Aid

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) sponsors several programs to help state residents cover the costs of their education:

PHEAA State Grant

A Pennsylvania State Grant is based on financial need. It is a dorm of gift aid a student does not have to repay. Learn More

Ready to Succeed Scholarship

This program, which is funded by the Pennsylvania General Assembly,
provides awards to high-achieving students whose annual family income does not exceed $110,000. Learn More

Blind or Deaf Beneficiary Grant

This program provides financial aid to blind or deaf students. The maximum Blind or Deaf grant cannot exceed $500 within an academic year. This program awards funds on a first-come, first-served basis. Learn More

Chafee Education and Training Grant

This program offers grants to Pennsylvania undergraduate students aging out of foster care who are attending an eligible postsecondary institution. Learn More

PATH Grant

Through the PATH (Partnerships for Access to Higher Education) Program, qualifying students who have already been awarded a scholarship or grant by a PHEAA PATH Partner may be eligible for additional grant money. Learn More

Pennsylvania National Guard EAP

Together with the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, PHEAA administers this tuition assistance program for students who enter into a service commitment with the Pennsylvania National Guard for a period of 6 years. Learn More

Scholarships

Scholarships are  funds that do not have to be paid back. Learn more at our scholarships page.

Veteran Educational Benefits

Military students may be eligible for VA education benefits and other types of financial aid. Learn more here.