To help you better understand your role as a parent in the financial aid process we have gathered some information which may be useful in helping your family determine the best way to fund your student’s education.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The FAFSA is your student’s federal financial aid application. Its annual completion is necessary as it builds the foundation which allows the federal and state government as well as Keystone College to determine eligibility for many financial aid awards both need and non-need based.
- You and your student should complete his/her FAFSA annually before May 1 using the Keystone College federal school code: 003280. Application may be submitted at www.fafsa.ed.gov
- PHEAA, Pennsylvania’s state grant program will not accept applications after May 1. Application may be submitted at www.pheaa.org
- For other state grants outside of Pennsylvania check with your state's Department of Education
Dependent Student Definition
The federal Department of Education’s (DOE) definition for a “Dependent” student is drastically different than that of the IRS.
- The DOE determines a student to be “Dependent” until they are 24 years old, married, a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, a graduate student, responsible for dependents for whom they provide more than 50% support, orphaned, ward of the court, homeless, or in legal guardianship of an individual(s) other than parents. Until one of these criteria is met, parental financial information is required on the FAFSA.
- If your student is living independently on their own (i.e. no longer under your roof) and does not meet any of the criteria above they are still considered “Dependent” for purposes of applying for financial aid.
- Dependency status may be appealed, but there are very limited criteria. For details, please contact the Office of Financial Assistance and Planning.
- Failure to enter parental data on the FAFSA, when your student is defined as Dependent, will result in an incomplete application and your “Dependent” student may NOT be eligible for federal, State, and select Institutional aid programs.
Verification of Dependent Students
Any FAFSA may be selected for a process called Verification. If selected, Keystone College is required to verify information submitted on the FAFSA for both student and parent(s) which may include, but is not limited to:
- "Dependent Verification Worksheet"
- A federal tax transcript, available from the IRS for both parents and student, if filed.
- In place of a federal tax transcript, parent/students may elect to return to www.fafsa.gov and select "IRS Data Retrieval" to update tax information on the FAFSA form. Updated FAFSA information will load into our system, electronically, for processing.
- Federal regulations no longer allow the use of photocopied federal tax returns for the verification purposes. A tax federal transcript or the FAFSA's IRS Data Retrieval is required.
Parent PLUS Loan Program
If a dependent student's total cost of attendance (COA) cannot be met with funds for which the student qualifies, parents may request to borrow money, up to the student's cost of attendance, through the Parent PLUS Loan program.
- Parent PLUS Loans are based on the parent’s credit profile and yearly renewal of the application is necessary.
- Interest will accrue on the Parent PLUS Loan while the student is in school and payments may be deferred until your student finishes school.
- To apply visit www.studentloans.gov and complete both the loan application and a Master Promissory Note (MPN).
- If you apply, but do not qualify for a PLUS loan, your child may be eligible for additional unsubsidized Direct Loan funds.
- Suggest you apply by July 1 to ensure timeliness of processing
Upon a student’s acceptance to the College, all financial aid records and data submitted with the student's application for financial aid are treated as confidential and are subject to disclosure requirements under the Family Educational Right to Privacy Act (FERPA). (See our Keystone's FERPA Policy.)
- Parents must be authorized by the student to access student information. We cannot share your student's information with anyone without such consent.
- Students can grant consent by logging into their MyKC account under the Student tab, my FERPA permissions.