Student Loans

Student Loans

The primary form of financial aid for Penn State at The Navy Yard students — enrolled in courses through Penn State Great Valley — is federal student loans (Unsubsidized Direct and Graduate PLUS loans). Students who are not eligible for federal student loans may apply for private student loans.

Federal Student Loan Eligibility

Students are eligible for federal Direct Unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS loans when they:

  • Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students must submit a new FAFSA annually by June 1 for the academic year beginning in August.
  • Are formally admitted to and enrolled in an eligible master's degree program. Certificate programs are not eligible for federal loans.
  • Are enrolled at least half-time for the semester they seek a loan. Half-time enrollment for a graduate student at Penn State is 5–8 credits (at least two 3-credit courses) within a 14-week semester.
  • Comply with Penn State's Satisfactory Academic Progress standard.
  • Are a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen with a valid social security number.
  • Comply with any federal verification requests.
  • Remain in good standing on past educational loans per the National Student Loan Database System (NSLDS).
  • Meet any other federal criteria listed at Federal Student Aid.

Private Student Loans

Students who are not eligible for federal student loans — such as students enrolled in certificate programs, students enrolled less than half-time, and students who are not U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens — may apply for a private student loan with an independent lender. Students manage private loans directly with the lender.

Program Costs with Loans

Understand program costs before committing to a student loan. To estimate the total cost of a master’s degree:

For more assistance with managing program costs, visit Financial Literacy at Penn State.

Steps to a Graduate Student Loan

  1. Apply for a master’s degree program and accept your offer of admission.
  2. Submit a student loan application:
    • Submit a federal loan application (FAFSA) for a graduate Direct Unsubsidized loan. Loans will divided evenly between fall and spring semesters. If you want a loan for one semester only, indicate that on your application.
    • If you need funding in addition to what the Direct Unsubsidized loan offers, you may also apply for a federal Graduate PLUS loan.
    • If you are not eligible for either federal student loan because of your enrollment level, your citizenship status, your loan history or non-degree status, you may wish to apply for a student loan from a private lender.
  3. Complete the required loan documents. No loan can be processed until these requirements are complete.
  4. Set up your LionPATH account and enroll in all classes for both sessions in the semester.  No loan will be offered until you meet the semester enrollment minimum for the loan you request. Federal loans require half-time enrollment (at least two courses per semester). Enrollment requirements for private student loans vary by lender.
  5. Manage your loan in LionPATH until it is disbursed to your account.
  6. Complete all courses for which you receive a loan. Loans are automatically withdrawn for the entire semester if a student drops eligibility criteria. Review Penn State’s Satisfactory Academic Process policy. 

Summer Loans

  • Students who have funds remaining in the year’s federal Unsubsidized Loan cap and are enrolled in at least two summer courses will automatically receive a summer loan offer on LionPATH, and can set the loan amount in the Accept process.
  • Students without funds remaining in their Unsubsidized loan cap but who are enrolled in at least two summer courses, may apply for a summer Grad PLUS loan, and specify “Summer Only” on the application.
  • Students applying for a private loan for summer sessions must specify “Summer Only” on the lender application.
  • Students must accept or decline the summer loan offer on LionPATH.     
  • Refunds in the summer sessions are generated after the first day of the latest class on the student’s summer schedule.