Frequently Asked Questions about Financial Aid

What is the difference between a grant, a scholarship, and a loan?

A grant is a gift. It does not have to be repaid and it is based on the student's financial need. A scholarship is an achievement award which is usually based on academic grades, abilities, skills, test scores, class rank, etc. Loans are funds which are borrowed by the student and/or parent. In most cases, loans must be repaid with an interest charge and a specified repayment period.

Is there a maximum income level that will make me ineligible for financial aid?

No, income level does not automatically disqualify you for financial aid. Other variables, such as family size and the number of persons in the family attending college are taken into consideration.

In order to receive financial aid do I have to apply every year?

Yes. In order to receive consideration for all programs you must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year.

What is PSC's Title IV federal school code?

Please use the Potomac State federal school code of 003829 AND the WVU code of 003827.

How do I apply for PSC scholarships?

There is not a separate scholarship application for most of PSC's scholarships. (Please check out the information on scholarships for the exceptions.) All students that have been admitted and have submitted their ACT/SAT test scores by February 15, prior to their first fall semester, will be considered for scholarship eligibility. After that date, scholarship eligibility will be reviewed if funding remains.

How can my parents get information on my financial aid or bill?

The WVU Parent/Guest Portal allows a PSC student to grant third-party access to his/her records.  Now information that is protected from disclosure pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), such as grades, financial aid details, and student account/billing information is maintained in a secure online environment.  A student may grant permission to a parent or guest to access this information and make payments through this portal.  Click here for more info

What does it take to be considered an independent student?

Section 2 of the FAFSA is used to identify students as either dependent or independent. To be considered an independent student, you must answer 'Yes' to at least one of the questions listed in that section. If you are not able to answer yes to one of these questions but still believe you are an independent student, please contact a financial aid counselor.

What should I do if my family's financial circumstances change after I apply for financial aid?

Students often find the information they provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid does not give a realistic reflection of their ability to provide financial support. As such, students may choose to submit a Review of Financial Hardship Form to our office for further consideration.

There are limitations to hardships the U.S. Department of Higher Education will allow financial aid administrators to consider. To remain equitable, our office will review all applications on a case-by-case basis.

The following conditions may be considered:

  • Loss of Employment/Reduction of Income
  • Separation/Divorce
  • Death of Parent/Spouse
  • Reduction/Loss of Child Support
  • Healthcare and Dental Expenses Out of Pocket, Paid in Full
  • One-time Income Used for Essential Items

Click here to access the Review of Financial Hardship form. pdf

Is there any aid available if I decide to attend summer school?

Students may receive aid during summer sessions through the Federal Pell Grant and Direct Loan programs if they show financial eligibility, and have not received their maximum allocation for the academic year. Students may also receive consideration for a full- or part-time job through the Federal Work Study program.

How can I get more infromation about managing my student loans and personal budget?

Look at our Financial Planning Information for ideas to cut costs and learn about student loan repayment.