Investing In A PAFA Education

100% of our accepted students receive merit-based scholarships!

PAFA awards partial- to full-merit-based scholarships to all of our admitted students. There is no separate application outside of the admissions process. Scholarship funds do not need to be repaid. In addition to reasonable tuition rates, PAFA offers several financial aid and assistance options for eligible students: scholarships, grants, loans, veteran benefits, and work-study programs. In addition to the financial aid that PAFA awards, many outside groups sponsor private scholarships, loans, and grants.

We aim to make it financially possible for every qualified applicant to enroll at PAFA and pursue their dreams. PAFA is fully committed to providing you with all the relevant information in a simple and easy-to-understand way. We encourage you to explore all available opportunities and apply early for financial aid. 

Financial Aid First Steps

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and FSA ID are the essential first steps for financial aid. If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen seeking need-based financial aid, you must complete a FAFSA each year.

Apply for Financial Aid

The FAFSA application is available every October 1st for the next academic year.

Types of Aid

Scholarships and Awards:

PAFA awards partial- to full-merit-based scholarships to 100% of our admitted students. There is no separate application outside of the admissions process. Scholarship funds do not need to be repaid. 

PAFA also supports distinguished awards and prestigious scholarship competitions annually, rewarding the talent and achievements of current students.


Grants, like scholarships, are not required to be paid back. An example is the PA State Grant program, which is for in-state students. The application is linked to the FAFSA application.

Federal Work Study:

This is a need-based opportunity to earn money to assist in covering school-related expenses by working for PAFA on campus. Students receive a bi-weekly paycheck for hours worked.

Direct and Alternative Loans:

Student loans can be federal or private, but all of them must be repaid. Interest is often associated with borrowing, so it is usually best to utilize federal borrowing options before pursuing a private loan through a lender of your choice.

Financial Aid Deadlines

October 1FAFSA Application Opens
February 1FAFSA Priority Consideration due
May 15PHEAA State Grant FAFSA due

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

This is PAFA’s current Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.  It supersedes the policy that is in the PAFA Financial Affairs Policies handbook. The Department of Education requires schools to monitor a student's academic progress in order for the student to remain eligible for federal financial aid and to establish a written policy in that regard. Students are expected to meet the standards outlined below in PAFA’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy. All components of the policy must be met each year in order for a student to remain eligible for federal financial assistance for the following academic year.

Academic progress is checked at the end of each academic year in May. Failure to meet the minimum completion percentage (of attempted vs. completed credit hours) or maintain the minimum GPA will result in the student being placed on academic warning for the next academic year. (Students who have one or more incompletes at the end of the year will be notified in July if they have failed SAP and have been placed on academic warning.) Failure to meet the minimum completion percentage or come up to the minimum GPA by the conclusion of the next academic year will result in the cancellation of all federal financial aid for the following year. If there were extenuating circumstances which lead to the student's failure, they may submit an appeal up to two weeks from the date they are notified. See process below.

Students who are notified that they have failed SAP after the grace period of the next academic year are ineligible for all forms of federal financial aid including:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Federal Work-Study
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans (Parent and Graduate)
  • Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans

Recipients of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) Grant must also follow academic progress guidelines set by the PHEAA. PAFA has designed a SAP policy that meets the requirements of both federal and state agencies.

SAP does not impact PAFA scholarships, though many scholarships do have GPA and enrollment requirements. Students with private loans should contact their lender to determine any academic requirements. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for financial aid eligibility should not be confused with PAFA’s Academic Standing Policy.  These are two distinct and totally separate policies.  It is possible to fail to meet minimum standards of one policy and pass the minimum standard of the other. PAFA will notify you via email if it has been determined that you are failing SAP.

SAP Requirements


GPA Requirements 

Student LevelMinimum Cumulative GPA
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate3.0
Master of Fine ArtsUngraded Program – Completion percentage serves as measurement. See below.

 Please note: GPA requirements for merit scholarships may differ from SAP GPA requirements. 

Completion Percentage

You must complete the appropriate percent of all courses attempted since the start of your enrollment in your current academic level (undergraduate or graduate). The completion percentage is calculated by dividing the total hours earned by the total hours attempted. It is also important to understand how specific grades and/or course types count toward your completion percentage. The following grades count as attempted but not completed courses: Incomplete (I), Withdraw (W). Both transfers and advanced placement credits count as attempted and completed courses. The required completion percentages are detailed in the chart below.

Number of Earned Credits Cumulative Completion Percent
Undergraduate0-89.5 Credits60%
 90-126 Credits70%

150 Percent of Time to Degree

You may not receive any federal aid if you enroll beyond 150 percent of the published program length without graduating. For example, if you are enrolled in a four-year program and you do not complete/earn your degree within six years, you will become ineligible to continue receiving federal aid.

SAP Appeal

If it has been determined that you are failing SAP and there were extenuating circumstances such as a serious illness or death of a parent that prevented you from being successful, you may submit an appeal for consideration. Successful appeals can result in reinstatement of financial aid under a financial aid probation status. To file an SAP Appeal, please complete the SAP Appeal Form and submit to the Dean of Students. Make sure to attach any supporting documentation regarding the circumstances you describe in your appeal. You will be notified by the Dean of Students if your appeal is approved or denied. If approved, you will be required to complete a SAP Academic Plan in coordination with the School Registrar. This Academic plan must be returned to the Dean of Students in order for your financial aid to disburse to your account.

The College Financing Plan

The College Financing Plan (CFP) is a standardized financial aid form for all colleges and universities to assist in making aid and cost comparisons for multiple schools simpler and easier to read.  The CFP is provided by the Department of Education and made available to all undergraduate and military students.  Once you have been accepted at PAFA and have a financial aid package, you will receive an email with a financial aid award letter and a separate email containing your CFP.

The Department of Education has provided a reference guide which contains a summary of each section on your College Financing Plan.

The CFP is not an estimated PAFA bill, and the Net Costs amount listed will be much higher than your estimated college charges.  In addition to the estimated Direct Costs (tuition/fees/on campus housing), it includes other Indirect Costs that are not billed by PAFA.  These include allowances for off campus housing, meals, books & supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses.  The allowances for these indirect costs vary widely, so in comparing schools, you’re encouraged to compare the estimated Net Direct Costs.  This figure can be calculated by subtracting your financial aid (not including federal work study) from your Total Direct Costs.

Picture Yourself at PAFA

The Admissions and Financial Aid staff at PAFA help you during all stages of the application and enrollment process.

Telephone: (215) 972-7625
Fax: (215) 569-0153
Financial Aid: