University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for aid?
In order to apply for aid, you must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Where can I get a copy of the FAFSA?
You can get a copy of the FAFSA from your high school guidance counselor, the financial aid office at any college, or by calling the Federal Student Information Center at 1-800-433-3243. The FAFSA can also be completed online at

When can I file the FAFSA?
The FAFSA for the upcoming school year can be filed on or after January 1 of that year.

Is there a deadline for filing the FAFSA?
The deadline for campus based aid at Pitt-Johnstown is April 1. The deadline for the PHEAA State Grant is May 1.

Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?
Yes, you must file a FAFSA every year to be considered for financial aid. If you have previously filed a FAFSA, you will be sent a Renewal reminder notification. Students who provided e-mail addresses on their prior year FAFSA will receive the Renewal Reminder via e-mail. Renewal-eligible students whose records do not have valid e-mail addresses, or whose Renewal Reminder e-mails are returned as undeliverable, will be mailed Renewal Reminder letters, provided there is a deliverable mailing address.

What is Entrance Counseling and why do I have to complete it?
Entrance Counseling is a counseling session advising you of your rights and responsibilities as a student borrower. Entrance Counseling is required by the U.S. Department of Education.

How many credits must I take in order to be eligible for financial aid?
You must be enrolled for at least 6 credits to be eligible for financial aid.

What is an Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?
The EFC is used to determine your eligibility for federal financial aid.  The formula for the EFC calculation is established by law and is determined by the information reported on the FAFSA.

Why is the amount that I owe the school after financial aid has been deducted more than my EFC?
The EFC is not necessarily the amount that you will owe the school. The EFC is the amount that the U.S. Department of Education determines that a family or student should be able to pay towards their education. However, you are ultimately responsible for the difference between the cost of attendance and all financial aid.

My parents are divorced and both are remarried. Do I need to include my step-parents income information on the FAFSA?
Yes. First determine which parent you lived with the most and/or who provided more support in the past 12 months. If that parent is remarried then you must include their spouse’s income information on the FAFSA. A prenuptial agreement does not exempt a step-parent from including his/her income information.

What is a PIN number and how do I get one?
The PIN is a four digit number assigned by the U.S. Department of Education. This PIN serves as your digital signature for online documents such as the FAFSA and Stafford Master Promissory Note. If filing the FAFSA online, the student and one parent will need a PIN number in order to sign it. You can request a PIN online at

I am currently borrowing a Stafford loan, but my parents refuse to borrow a parent PLUS loan. Do I have any other options?
You can look into alternative loan options. Alternative loans are available from banks and education loan organizations. Alternative loan terms vary based on the lender and the borrower’s credit history. Many of these loan require a cosigner if the borrower does not meet the credit requirements. These loans are typically deferred while the student is enrolled.

My parents no longer support me and I live on my own. Do I still need to supply my parent’s information on the FAFSA?
Despite living on your own and receiving no support from your parents, you are not considered independent for financial aid purposes. A student is considered independent if they meet one of the following:
• 24 years of age on or before the January 1 preceding the academic year
• A graduate student
• Married
• Have legal dependents
• An orphan or ward of the court
• A veteran of the armed forces
• Emancipated Minor or in Legal Guardianship
• Homeless
• Currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training

If you do not meet any of these requirements and there are special circumstances regarding your situation, contact the financial aid office to discuss your situation.

What do I need to complete every year to maintain financial aid eligibility?
In order to remain eligible for Federal financial aid, you must maintain satisfactory academic progress and remain in acceptable academic standing.  The academic performance of students enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown will be reviewed annually to determine whether or not they are making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).  Components of the SAP requirement include:
  • Cumulative review of college credits completed - Students must successfully complete 67% of the cumulative total number of credits attempted.
  • Cumulative GPA - The minimum GPA requirements are determined by the total number credits attempted at any University of Pittsburgh campus,as well as any credits that have transferred into Pitt-Johnstown.
    • Upon completion of the first academic year, students must achieve a minimum 1.50 cumulative GPA.
    • Upon completion of the second academic year and thereafter, students must achieve a minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA.
  • Timeframe needed for program completion - Students must complete their program of study within 150% rate of the published length of their program.
Last Reviewed: November 12, 2004