When Will I Be Notified About My Financial Aid Awards?

The Financial Aid Office will begin to process financial aid applications for the fall term in the preceding spring. First-time, full-time freshmen financial aid awarding will begin for new students in mid-late March. Processing of financial aid awards for continuing students begins in late May. New transfer and graduate students will begin to be processed in mid-June. All students are formally notified of their financial aid awards in a letter sent to the home address via the US mail. Should any changes in your financial aid occur, financial aid award notifications reflecting those revisions will be sent to you (the student) via your University of Pittsburgh email account.

Once application processing begins, financial aid applications are reviewed weekly on a continuous basis. If you complete your financial aid application after July 1 and do not receive a financial aid award letter within three weeks of the date your application was complete, please contact our office. A financial aid office publication, “Student Aid Notes,” is sent to all students with their initial award letter each year. “Student Aid Notes” contains more details about specific financial aid awards, eligibility criteria and other requirements.

When Will I Receive My Financial Aid?

Financial aid administered by the University Financial Aid Office is paid (disbursed) to you no sooner than 10 days prior to the start date of each term, provided that you have:

  1. Responded to all requests from the Financial Aid Office for additional information.
  2. Enrolled at least half-time (6 hours for undergraduates, 4.5 hours for graduate students). Please note that many grants and scholarships require full-time enrollment before disbursement.
  3. Completed/signed all applicable Master Promissory Notes (MPN) and entrance interviews required for student loans at StudentLoans.gov.

How Will I Receive My Financial Aid?

Direct Application of Aid to Your University Student Account

Grants, scholarships, and loans administered by the University Financial Aid Office are first applied directly to your university student account to pay charges for tuition, fees, room and board and other university charges. Financial aid awarded for a specific term can only pay for charges for that same term. The exception to this is alternative loans which will be credited to any outstanding balance. Financial aid administered by the University Financial Aid Office is paid to your University student account no sooner than 10 days prior to the start date of each term.

Aid That Exceeds Your University Student Account Charges

If the total of your financial aid exceeds the charges on your University student account, these funds will be refunded to you. Refunds are processed in Student Financial Services, Thackeray Hall.

Work Study Payment

Work Study awards are earned as wages by working in positions with eligible employers. Once you begin your employment under the Work Study program, you will receive payment for the hours worked each month. It is your responsibility to make sure that the payroll paperwork necessary to add your record to the University payroll system is complete before you begin to work. To insure that you receive your paycheck monthly, it is your responsibility to make sure that your time record is submitted by the payroll deadline each month.

Private Scholarships and Grants

Aid Provided from Sources other than the University Financial Aid Office

When your scholarship or grant payment from a private source is sent to the University, it will be applied to your University student account, one-half for each semester, unless otherwise specified by the scholarship sponsor. You will not receive a credit for financial aid from a private source until the payment actually arrives at the University. If the payment creates a credit balance on your University student account, the credit will be refunded to you. It is your responsibility to report to the Financial Aid Office all financial aid received by you from any source. Aid from outside sources may reduce previously awarded institutional, state, federal, or private funding.


A financial aid over-award occurs when aid received from all sources is greater than the Cost of Attendance (COA), or when need based aid is over the federally determined financial need. The Financial Aid Office takes care not to over award a student initially. However, circumstances may change after the initial financial aid award is made, resulting in an over-award of financial aid. When these circumstances arise we are required to review the financial aid award which could result in an adjustment to the financial aid package to ensure that the total aid received is within federal guidelines.