The first step toward receiving financial aid each year is to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). We recommend you file by March 1. We do not require the CSS Profile Form. If you are unable to meet the March 1 deadline, you can still apply. However, full consideration will be given to those students who meet the deadline. Don’t forget, the FAFSA must be completed each year!

Seven Steps to Apply for Financial Aid

  1. Apply for or locate your FSA ID. The FSA ID allows you to electronically sign your applications. It will be used each year, so make sure to keep this in a safe place and do not share this information with anyone.
  2. Complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA information is used to determine eligibility for financial aid. For Pennsylvania residents, the FAFSA will serve as your PA state grant application as well. Check out this tutorial on completing the FAFSA.
  3. Search for Scholarships. You will be automatically reviewed for merit based scholarships when you apply to Pitt. For non-University of Pittsburgh Scholarships you may review sites like College Board and Fastweb. Always be sure to avoid scholarship scams.
  4. Review your Student Aid Report. Read your Student Aid Report for accuracy and to see if you have been selected for a process called verification. If you are selected for verification additional forms will be required before your financial aid can be finalized.
  5. Manage your Financial Aid. Once you have completed your FAFSA information, the University of Pittsburgh will issue you an Award Notification. The Award Notification will advise you of the amount of financial aid you are being offered for the upcoming school year. New students to the University are issued a paper copy and an electronic copy. Continuing students are issued the Award Notification electronically only. The Award Notification will allow you to view the aid you are being offered. You will need to take action to accept, reduce, or decline your aid. Grant and scholarship funds are automatically accepted. Loans and work-study funds will need to be accepted/reduced or declined. Please be sure to note that work-study funds are NOT subtracted directly from the Balance Due Notification.
  6. Notify Pitt Financial Aid about any other aid. If you are receiving non-University of Pittsburgh scholarships, fellowships, or other funding not listed on your Award Notification, please inform our office at or use the Information Update Form. This can result in changes to your financial aid package.
  7. Monitor your email account. Be sure to monitor your Pitt email account and your Student Portal. The majority of communications from our office will be emailed to your Pitt Email account.

Download the Paying for College presentation here.