Steps in the Great Valley Graduate Student Loan Process

Students manage their loans on eLion and must use an active Penn State student access account. 
Finish your loan process in time to complete your registration (pay your bill) by your bill due date.
Allow at least three weeks to complete the federal loan process. More time may be needed for individual circumstances.
Late registrations are assessed a $50.00 late fee by the Office of the Bursar.

  • Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.ed.gov (once each year by June 30) to apply for federal Graduate Student Loans.
    • Use PSU School Code 003329.
    • Each FAFSA covers one academic year, beginning in the fall semester.
    • Once your FAFSA is in Penn State’s system, you will receive email notification from the Penn State Office of Student Aid with instructions for using your Student Aid Summary.  See www.studentaid.psu.edu for a “Guide to Your Student Aid Summary.”
  • Estimate your loan repayment obligation up front. Inconsistent or untimely loan repayments can negatively affect your future. Consider how you will repay a loan before committing to it.
    • Estimate the amount you will need to borrow to pay for a degree. Multiply the number of credits required by an estimated cost per credit.  Add fees (loan origination, tech and facility) to that total.
    • Research salaries for those with the degree you seek.  How much is your income likely to increase with that degree?
    • Use a repayment calculator (see www.studentloans.gov) to estimate your total loan cost and likely monthly repayment.  Will your income cover the repayment obligation?
  • Learn borrower rights and responsibilities. As a student aid recipient, it is crucial to understand the legal obligations for federal loans, the Satisfactory Academic Progress standard, loan limits, and eligibility requirements.  
    • Review the Graduate and Professional student information at www.studentaid.psu.edu. 
    • Review the student loans section of the Penn State Great Valley website at www.sgps.psu.edu.  
    • Review Stafford loan basics for graduate students at www.studentaid.gov.
    • Graduate students have an annual cap of $20,500.00 in Stafford funds per academic year. Students with higher educational costs may also apply for the Graduate PLUS Loan (see #9).
    • $20,500.00 will typically cover 6 courses per academic year at Penn State Great Valley if the student.  Students are awarded up to $10,250.00 in each the fall and spring semesters, and must lower those amounts to reserve funds for summer courses (see Step 8). 
    • Federal origination fees are removed before disbursement. 
  • Sign up for your semester classes. This is the first of two steps in the Penn State semester registration process (see Step 10).  
    • PSGV graduate students must be enrolled in at least 5 credits per 14-week semester (typically two courses) to generate a loan.
    • Your loan will be requested once your FAFSA is on file and you state that you are done enrolling for the semester. If you meet minimum credit requirements at that time, a loan will be generated for you.
    • When enrolling online, do not claim to be done until you have 2 courses on your schedule, or no loan will be generated.  If no loan is generated and you later add credits, follow the “Loan Adjustment Requests” directions in Step 8 to request a loan reinstatement.
  • Take this additional step to request a Summer Loan.  Stafford funds up to $10,250.00 not used in the fall and spring semesters can be used for a summer loan if requested.
    • Make a summer loan request after April 1 using the Summer Direct Stafford Loan Request option on eLion’s Financial menu.  Watch for an email stating your summer loan status, then continue to Steps 6 & 7, and to Step 8 or 9, as appropriate. 
    • It is strongly recommended that students take the minimum Stafford needed each semester, in order to lower total loan debt and have Stafford funds available to cover summer courses. 
    • If you used your Stafford maximums in fall and spring so do not have Stafford funds available for summer courses, you may request a summer Grad PLUS Loan, after April 1st.  See Step 9.
  • Follow the loan instructions provided via eLion and your Penn State email.
    • After you obtain a Penn State Access Account, the Penn State Office of Student Aid will communicate important information to your Penn State email address.
    • On eLion under the Financial menu, your Student Aid Summary provides current loan status, the SAS Checklist provides next loan steps, and the Loan Debt Summary gives cumulative loan information. 
    • As a student loan recipient, monitor your Penn State email and your eLion Student Aid Summary regularly.
  • Complete the federal loan requirements.   See www.studentaid.psu.edu and your eLion Student Aid Summary checklist for instructions. Use your FAFSA PIN to:
    • Sign the federal Master Promissory Note for a Stafford Loan at www.studentloans.gov (if this is the first semester you seek a graduate student Stafford Loan at Penn State Great Valley).
    • Complete federal Loan Entrance Counseling at www.studentloans.gov (if this is the first semester you seek a graduate student Stafford loan at Penn State Great Valley).  Be sure to select the Loan Entrance Counseling option labeled “Graduate and Professional Students.”
    • Comply with any requests to supply Identity Verification documents.  If students are selected for verification, they will be notified by the University Park Office of Student Aid, describing the specific information needed. Respond promptly to requests for verification documents to avoid a delay in processing your loan.
  • Set your Stafford Loan amount each semester before completing your registration.

Review your Student Aid Summary and eLion bill to verify that your loan is in place, and determine how much you want to borrow each semester. You are encouraged to borrow only the amount needed to pay your tuition and fees (and books if you choose) in order to keep your debt as low as possible and reserve Stafford funds for summer courses if needed.

The $20,500.00 Stafford cap will typically cover 6 courses per academic year at Penn State Great Valley.   If students take 2 courses each in fall, spring and summer or 3 courses in each of any two semesters, the Stafford cap will currently cover costs. Students are automatically awarded up to $10,250.00 in each the fall and spring semesters; to reserve funds for summer courses, decrease the fall and spring amounts.

To decrease your loan amount, confirm on eLion that your loan is in place, then:

  • Make no changes if you want to borrow the full allotment for the semester. Excess funds will be forwarded to you as a refund after the semester begins.  
  • Request a Stafford loan decrease on eLion if you want a semester loan for an amount lower than the amount shown.
    • Log onto eLion, and go to the Financial menu.
    • Select Student Aid Summary and verify that your loan is in place.
    • Check Bursar/Tuition/Bills for the amount of your semester bill. Your Aid Estimate is in the lower left corner.
    • Select Loan Decrease. Follow the prompts to bring your unsubsidized loan gross total to the amount on your semester bill, or to another amount you choose.
    • If you wish to cancel your loan entirely, decrease the loan amount to zero.  
    • Spring loan amounts will match fall loan amounts; if you lower your fall loan and later wish to increase your spring amount, follow the instructions below for “Loan Adjustment Requests.”
    • Ensure that you get a confirmation message for your loan decrease request. 
    • Wait 24 hours Check your Student Aid Summary and your Bills page to verify that the change you requested is recorded on your student account. 

You have 30 days from the date your loan disburses to decrease your loan amount on eLion (if you have not completed your registration) or request through the Office of the Bursar that loan funds be returned (if you have completed your registration).  If you do not decrease your loan amount within 30 days, the loan amount listed on your Student Aid Summary and Bill page at the time you complete your registration is the permanent amount awarded that semester.      

Loan Adjustment Requests: Students may only request one loan decrease on eLion per semester. Other loan decreases, increases or loan reinstatements, may be requested by sending an email to gvstudentaid@psu.edu with “Stafford Loan [Decrease/ Increase / Reinstatement] Request” in the subject line. In the body of the message indicate your name, 9-digit PSU ID, the action you are requesting, the total loan dollar amount desired, and the semester/year.

  •  Apply for a federal Graduate PLUS Loan, only if you reach your Stafford Loan maximum and need more funding.  
    • Review federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan basics at www.psu.edu/types-of-aid/loans/graduate-PLUS
    • On eLion, under the Financial menu, select the PLUS Request Form
    • Enter the dollar amount you are requesting, and the semester
    • Wait 48 hours for a response in your eLion Student Aid Summary
    • Sign the Master Promissory Note for the Grad Plus Loan at www.studentloans.gov (see your Student Aid Summary Checklist for directions)
    • If directed, complete Loan Entrance Counseling for the Grad PLUS Loan at www.studentloans.gov.  (This step will not be necessary if the Loan Entrance Counseling option labeled “Graduate and Professional Students” was selected for the Stafford Loan as described in Step 7).
  • Complete your semester registration (pay your bill using your loan) once your loan amount is correct.
    • View and/or pay bills online at elion.psu.edu (select Bursar Tuition Bills from the Financial menu). 
    • On your eLion Bill page, verify your loan amount in the “Estimated Aid” section of your bill, confirm your attendance “without a payment”, and wait for a confirmation message. 
    • Your loan will go through for the dollar amount listed in the “Estimated Aid” section on your bill at the time you confirm your registration, so be sure to wait 24 hours for a decrease confirmation if you do not wish to borrow the full allotment (see Step 8).
    • Payment of your semester bill is due by the bill due date listed on your eLion Bill page. Registrations completed late will be charged a $50.00 late fee. Students may “Request a due date extension” on the Bill page once per semester if their loan is not in place by the day before their bill due date.  
    • Click “View Transaction History” for a breakdown of payment actions. 
    • Review the “Refunds” section at www.bursar.psu.edu for details on how excess loan funds will be disbursed.   
  • Finish the classes you start.
  • Manage your finances wisely.

For more information on graduate and professional student loans at Penn State, see studentaid.psu.edu

Contact the Great Valley campus Office of Student Aid at gvstudentaid@psu.edu or 610-648-3311

Contact the University Park Office of Student Aid at 814-863-0322, or submit a question online under “Contact” at www.studentaid.psu.edu.