Financial Aid Special Groups

Special Categories

Certain types of students, learning experiences, and academic sessions have additional procedures in place related to financial aid. Email our office or call us (Bloomsburg 570-389-4297, Lock Haven 570-484-2424, Mansfield 570-662-4129) if you have additional questions not answered below.

Financial aid for transfer students will not automatically transfer from your previous school.  Email our office or call us (Bloomsburg 570-389-4297, Lock Haven 570-484-2424, Mansfield 570-662-4129) to ensure that all financial aid forms have been received.

Steps to Transfer Aid

  • Update your FAFSA to indicate Commonwealth University as your first school choice.
    Commonwealth University - Bloomsburg: 003315
    Commonwealth University - Lock Haven: 003323
    Commonwealth University - Mansfield: 003324
  • Update your Pennsylvania State Grant record to Commonwealth University.  This may be done through PHEAA's Website. (PA residents only)
  • Contact your current school to be sure pending aid is not disbursed for the semesters you will not be attending and has been cancelled.
  • For private scholarships, contact the scholarship to notify them you will be attending Commonwealth University.

This information is only for currently enrolled degree students at the university. If you're attending the university during the summer to transfer credits to your home school, please contact your school's financial aid office for more information. We cannot process financial aid on your behalf.

  • Federal Pell Grant: Undergraduate students who meet the eligibility criteria may receive a Federal Pell Grant.
  • Summer Pennsylvania State Grant: Undergraduate students who are PA residents enrolled for a minimum of six-degree credits may possibly qualify for a Pennsylvania State Grant. A separate summer application must be completed through PHEAA. Please note: The summer semester counts toward the maximum of eight semesters of eligibility.
  • Federal Direct Student, PLUS, and GradPLUS Loans: If you are enrolled at least half-time (Undergraduate students: six degree credits / Graduate or Doctoral students: three degree credits) and meet the eligibility criteria, you may receive federal loans for enrollment during the summer.  Please note: Any Direct Student Loans received during the summer will apply to the yearly academic grade level limits.
  • State Loans: Eligibility criteria differ by loan program. Prior to applying for a loan, please contact us to make certain you have no other aid available.
  • Private Education Alternative Loans: Eligibility criteria differ by loan program. Prior to applying for a loan, please contact us to make certain you have no other aid available.
  • Student Employment: Students who meet the eligibility criteria and wish to participate in the student employment program for the summer do not need to be enrolled for summer classes as long as the student is scheduled to return to the university for the fall semester on at least a half-time basis.

There is not a separate disbursement of federal/state aid for the winter semester. Any credits taken during the winter semester will be combined with your spring credits to determine eligibility.  To be eligible for federal/state aid for the winter semester, you must be enrolled in the spring semester. Any federal/state aid awarded for the winter semester will be disbursed with the spring disbursement. You will need to contact the Student Billing Office to give permission to use these funds towards winter charges.

If you are enrolled for the winter semester and do not qualify for federal/state aid or need additional aid not covered by federal/state sources, you may apply for State or Private Educational Alternative Loans. These loans may be disbursed during the winter semester.

In many cases, financial aid can be used to assist in meeting expenses for a study abroad experience. Students must meet all eligibility criteria for receiving financial aid. Please email Amanda Kishbaugh to discuss your options.

Study Abroad FAQ's

Can I receive financial aid if I wish to participate in a study abroad program?
In many cases financial aid can be used to assist in meeting expenses for a study abroad experience. Students must meet all eligibility requirements for receiving financial aid.

How do I apply for financial aid for study abroad?
For most financial aid programs, students should begin the process by completing the appropriate FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at least 4 months prior to the start of the study abroad semester. Students should also schedule an appointment in the Global Education Office to begin the application process.

How much aid can I receive for study abroad?
Determining eligibility is complex and will involve many factors: costs of the program, number of credits in which the student will be enrolled, current grade level, and information listed on the student’s FAFSA are just a few of the variables that affect eligibility. Students participating in a study abroad program should schedule an appointment with a Financial Aid counselor well in advance of their departure date to discuss their individual situation.

Study abroad can be expensive.  Will my financial aid increase if I choose to study abroad?
Not necessarily. While financial aid can be awarded up to the full cost of education, students may not exceed maximum amounts set by program regulations. Students who reach the maximum limits of federal grant or loan programs may seek additional funds through private lenders.

If I receive financial aid to study abroad will this affect the amount of aid that I will have available for future semesters?
It may. Many federal financial aid programs set yearly maximum amounts of aid that can be received. Using a portion of these funds for study abroad may limit the availability of aid for future semesters.

I was planning to enroll for 12 credits in the study abroad program, but I have changed my mind and will enroll for only 6. Will this affect my aid?
In general, yes. One of the variables that determines eligibility is number of credits in which the student is enrolled. If financial aid is received based on an inaccurate number of credits, the aid will need to be adjusted. Even if a refund was issued to the student, the funds must be repaid to the appropriate financial aid program.

I have applied for financial aid but my study abroad program is requiring payment for the study abroad experience prior to the time that my aid is available. Can I wait to pay these fees until I get my financial aid?
No. Payments for study abroad programs are required in advance of the time that financial aid funds are available for disbursement. Students wishing to participate in a study abroad program must pay all fees according to the schedule established by the university or coordinating agency. When financial aid is disbursed it will be used to first satisfy any outstanding university charges. If the financial aid exceeds the charges, a refund will be issued to the student. To receive this refund more quickly students are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit with the Student Billing Office. 

I have been accepted into a study abroad experience and charged a program fee. Is this fee my only expense/charge for the experience?
No. Tuition and fees will also be assessed based upon the number of credits that you will be earning for the experience.

Why am I being charged tuition and fees when I am not on campus?
Tuition is charged based upon the number of credits that you are earning in the experience. There are also mandatory fees that are assessed to all students when earning credits. The mandatory fees are Tuition Technology Fee, Academic Enhancement Fee, and Registration/Transcription.

Will my credits taken during my study abroad count for enrollment for my financial aid eligibility?
Student enrollment in a program of study abroad approved for credit by the home institution may be considered enrollment at the home institution for the purpose of applying for assistance under the FAFSA program.

Students in the Medical Imaging and Medical Laboratory Science Clinical Program will have their financial aid processed differently than in previous years. Often times, it will not be made available until closer to the program start date. It is important for students to review the manual, check emails frequently and understand that aid may not cover all costs associated with this program. Additional financial aid program information is available in our Clinical Medical Imaging Financial Aid Manual for Students

Under a special consortium agreement, students who are enrolled at the university may take courses at another institution to count toward the degree being earned here as well as have their financial aid processed for these courses through our office. In this instance, Commonwealth University is considered your "home school" and the other institution is considered your "host school."

It is your responsibility to request the consortium through Commonwealth's Financial Aid Office and provide all required information. In order to process this consortium agreement, you must provide us with:

  • Notification that the "Prior Approval of Transfer" from has been completed and submitted to the Registrar Office. Please notify us by emailing Amanda Kishbaugh.
  • Name of the host school you will be attending along with your host school student id.
  • Name and contact information (phone, email, and fax) at the host school where Commonwealth University is to send the financial aid consortium agreement.

Please Note: Financial Aid will not process the agreement unless and until all of the above information is submitted. It is strongly recommended that you provide the above information to Financial Aid at least 6 weeks prior to enrolling at the host school. Once all of the appropriate information is submitted, we will request information from the other institution verifying your enrollment status for the time period covered by the agreement. By signing the agreement, the host school also agrees to notify Commonwealth University if you withdraw or drop classes from your schedule. The host school must also notify Commonwealth University if it makes available any financial resources to you or becomes aware of any financial aid being made available to you from outside resources. Although the agreement requires the host school to notify Commonwealth University if there is a change in your enrollment, you must also notify Financial Aid immediately if you make any changes to your schedule at the host school.