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Financial Aid 

 Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions 



Do you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of applying for financial aid to help with college costs?

Don't panic, the staff of the Financial Aid Office at Slippery Rock University is available to help. We have compiled some of the most commonly asked questions and answers about financial aid for your use. See below for answers to the following questions:

FAQ: What Must I Do to Accept, Reduce or Decline My Federal Direct Student Loans
Students who receive Federal Direct or Federal Perkins Loans must “accept, reduce or decline” those loans before they can become finalized.  To accept, reduce or decline the student loan(s), a student must simply log into the self-service tab of MySRU.  Click here for step by step guidance on logging into the portal or about accepting, reducing or declining those loans.

FAQ: Do I Have to Complete Entrance Loan Counseling and a Master Promissory Notes (MPN)
New Direct Loan borrowers must complete Entrance Loan Counseling and a Master Promissory Note before the loan can become final.  Borrowers must go to to complete both.  Click on these appropriate links for simple instructions for completing the Loan Counseling and/or the Master Promissory Note.

New Perkins Loan borrowers must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) through SRU’s loan servicer, ECSI. Approximately one week after a student accepts the Perkins Loan on the MySRU portal, student can log into ECSI to view and sign the Perkins Loan MPN.   Questions about the Perkins Loan MPN should be directed to the SRU Perkins Loan Officer at 724-738-2064.  

FAQ: Will I Get a “Refund” of Any Excess Financial Aid?
A student who receives financial aid in excess of his/her billable charges will receive a “refund” of the excess aid from the Office of Student Accounts once the student’s bill is paid in full.  “Refunds” typically are the result of student or parent loans that are borrowed to assist with books or off-campus living-related expenses;  because loans must  be repaid, students should return any refunds that are not absolutely necessary for the semester to avoid unnecessary interest payments on those loans later.   Complete the loan reduction/cancellation form to initiate the reduction of your refund. The Office of Student Accounts encourages students to complete a direct deposit authorization form with their office in order to receive the refund at the earliest possible time (typically a few days before the start of the semester).  Note:  if a student is going to use a refund for off-campus housing, students should be aware that they won’t have access to fall refunds until late August, and they won’t have access to spring refunds until mid-January;  students should plan their budgets accordingly to take care of rent payments that may be due before they receive their refunds. 

FAQ: Can I Use My Financial Aid to Purchase Books
Possibly.  A student’s financial aid is first applied to his/her billable charges at SRU (tuition, fees, room and board, if applicable).   If the aid is greater than the billable charges, the excess will be refunded to the student to use for other educational-related charges, including books.  (see the previous question about “refunds”).  If a student plans to have excess aid and wants to purchase books before he receives the refund, typically he will buy the books with his own funds (or will use a credit card) and then he will pay himself back once he receives his refund. 

FAQ: What Do I Do If I Need More Financial Aid?
If a student needs additional financial aid beyond what he/she was awarded in his/her financial aid package, families typically consider the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan (or Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan for graduate students) or alternative private education loans.   These are both credit-based loans.   The Federal Direct PLUS Loans generally are approved if the borrower does not have bad credit (regardless of income).   The Alternative Private Education Loans typically require both a good credit history and a reasonable income.  As a result, borrowers may be approved for a Federal Direct PLUS Loan, but not a private loan.   In cases where a parent is denied the Federal Direct PLUS Loan, the student is permitted to access some additional Unsubsidized Direct Loans due to the PLUS denial. 

FAQ: How can I estimate my out-of-pocket expenses?
Once you have received your billing statement from the Office of Student Accounts, you can use the form below to estimate your out-of-pocket expenses for the year. Students can access their most current billing and financial aid information through the Student Self-Service tab on MySRU. Questions about billable charges should be directed to the Office of Student Accounts at 724-738-2088 (option 5); questions about financial aid should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid.

Worksheet to estimate Out-of-Pocket Expenses

FAQ: How can I get a work study (part-time job) on campus?
All information about on campus jobs is located at

FAQ: How do I apply for financial aid?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed in order to apply for financial aid available through Slippery Rock University. Students are able to complete the FAFSA beginning January 1 of the year preceding their enrollment in college. We recommend that the application be completed by May 1st.   The FAFSA is available online at  

The following tips will assist you with completion of the FAFSA:
•the SRU Federal School Code is 003327
•have your federal tax and income information available
•use IRS Data Retrieval Tool in the FAFSA 

After submitting the FAFSA, students should receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the federal processor within 1 week.  The SAR will be sent either electronically or via U.S. Mail depending on whether the student provided an email address on the FAFSA.  Students and families should review the SAR and make any corrections needed, if applicable.

FAQ: What types of financial aid are available through Slippery Rock University?
Available financial aid at Slippery Rock University includes grant, loan and employment programs such as the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, state grants, Federal Work Study, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Direct Loan, and Federal Direct PLUS Loan. In addition, a variety of scholarship opportunities are made available to students.

FAQ: How is financial aid awarded to students?
Students qualify for most financial aid based on their eligibility for individual sources of aid and their financial need. A family's or student's financial need is based on a simple formula:

Financial Need = Cost of Attendance - Expected Family Contribution Cost of Attendance

An average, cost of attendance is calculated for each student based on their program of study and their in-state or out-of-state status. The cost of attendance consists of costs for tuition, fees, room, board, books, travel and other associated educational costs. Expected Family Contribution (EFC): The EFC is calculated through the completion of the FAFSA. This figure reflects the federal estimate of what a family and/or student can afford to contribute toward a year of college.

FAQ: How and when will I know how much financial aid I am eligible for?
The SRU Financial Aid Office begins to send award letters to new freshmen in mid to late March.  Official award letters are mailed to all students in late-May and will continue on a rolling basis as new financial aid applicants complete their FAFSA's.  The award letter lists the types and amounts of financial aid for which the student qualifies. 

FAQ: Are there any other forms that I have to fill out beside the FAFSA?
Students who are selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education will be notified with instructions and required to return any forms or documentation necessary to the Financial Aid Office at SRU.  Also, students that apply for Direct Loans will be required to complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) and loan entrance counseling through the U.S. Department of Education.

Parents and/or graduate students who apply for the Federal Direct PLUS Loan will need to complete a MPN also and can access it at

A complete list of Scholarships that are available to SRU students are located at  Incoming Freshman students can complete a general scholarship application at  The Freshman Scholarship application has a deadline date of February 28th each year. 

FAQ: Where do I get a Direct Master Promissory Note or a Direct PLUS Loan application MPN?
Students who indicated interest for a student loan on their FAFSA will be considered for Federal Direct Loan eligibility by the SRU Financial Aid Office.  If you meet all of the eligibility requirements, the loan will be certified and listed on your financial aid award letter.  Next, you will electronically sign (e-sign) your Master Promissory Note (MPN) if you do not already have a valid MPN on file.  You will access the U.S. Department of Education's website to complete this process at In addition, all first time loan borrowers will be required to complete loan entrance counseling on that same site. 

Parents or graduate students who apply for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan should initiate the PLUS application and the Master Promissory Note at

FAQ: What if the information about income and assets on my FAFSA application does not reflect my family's ability to pay for my education? For example, what if one of my parents has lost their job?
The FAFSA will collect income information from the previous tax year. Thus, if your family experiences a decrease in income in the current year, it will not be reflected on your application. While you must still complete the FAFSA with "actual" information, you should contact the SRU Financial Aid Office directly for additional forms and assistance in reporting this type of change in your family financial situation.

FAQ: Who do I call if I need help with applying for financial aid?
Please contact a staff member of the SRU Financial Aid Office. You may reach us at 724-738-2044 or e-mail us. Our advice and assistance is free, and we are happy to help you with the application process. In addition, we offer appointments for students and families in need of financial aid advice and assistance.  Students can also contact the federal processor at 1-800-4FedAid (1-800-433-3243) with questions about the FAFSA or their federal Personal Identification Number (PIN).  For questions relating to the PHEAA State Grant, contact their office at 800.692.7392, when you hear the recording, say "customer service" and a representative will be right with you. 

FAQ:  When will I receive my financial aid?
A: The Office of Student Accounts will disburse financial aid according to regulations that govern disbursements.  Typically, financial aid is disbursed to a student’s account a few days before the semester begins, provided that the student 1) is registered, 2) has completed the aid application process, 3) has completed all requirements related to the individual aid programs, and 4) meets all eligibility requirements.