If you are planning to work at a co-op or internship position during either a fall or a spring semester and you rely on student financial aid to help pay for college expenses, be sure to meet with an adviser in the Office of Student Aid prior to beginning your assignment to discuss how participation in a short-term work experience might impact your aid. For example, in most cases, students receive a substantial salary during their work assignments. This salary is taken into account as income when students complete the following year's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and may impact the amount of aid they are eligible to receive.
Because student aid packages vary greatly, it is difficult to make general statements about how individual students' aid may be impacted by a co-op or internship experience during the academic year. However, the following statements should apply to most students:
- You are ineligible for federal grants or loans (e.g., Stafford Loans) while completing a co-op or internship semester because you are registered for fewer than six credits; however, you might be eligible for other types of grants or loans, including private loans. Check with a Student Aid Adviser regarding your personal situation.
- Co-op credits (ENGR 295, 395, 495) and internship credits (ENGR 195 and 595) are considered distance education courses and do not count toward the minimum six credits you need in order to be eligible for federal financial aid; however, other resident education classes taken at any Penn State campus do count toward the minimum six-credit requirement.
- Where your student aid is concerned, if you are seeking credit for your co-op or internship experience, you will be considered an active full-time student for the purposes of continued loan deferment only. Any loans or grants previously awarded to you will not need to be paid back while you are on your work assignment, and will continue to be deferred until after your graduation.
- Most scholarships awarded by Penn State (including Schreyer scholarships) are deferred to future semesters in which you are enrolled full-time on campus. However, if you receive scholarships from an outside agency, you will need to contact that agency directly to discuss your scholarship eligibility during your work assignment. If that agency requires confirmation that you are registered for co-op or internship credit, please contact our office to request a letter.
Contact the Office of Student Aid (phone: 814-865-6301) with any questions about financial aid or scholarships.