Sources of Financial Aid

Federal Pell Grant (does not have to be repaid)

The Federal Pell Grant is the largest federal student aid gift assistance program available to undergraduates. It is a need-based program and award amounts are determined by the U.S. Dept. of Education each year. Please visit Federal Student Aid to view the maximum Federal Pell Grant award for the current academic year.

To determine eligibility, a student must apply for this grant by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. There is no priority deadline for the Pell Grant, but students should apply by March 1 to allow ample processing time before the new academic year begins in the fall. Once the FAFSA is submitted with all required data and signatures, RHSHS receives an Institutional Student Information Report (ISIR) in about two days. Simultaneously, the student receives a Student Aid Report (SAR). This report provides an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) that determines the applicant's entitlement. Other factors that affect the amount of the grant are enrollment status (full-time or part-time) and the cost of attendance.

To receive the Pell Grant, a student must do the following:

  • Be enrolled in an undergraduate course of study. (The grant is not available to students who have previously received a bachelor's degree from any institution.)
  • Be a U.S. citizen; be in the United States for anything other than a temporary purpose to become a permanent resident.
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress.
  • Maximum Pell Grant eligibility - Effective July 1, 2012, the Department of Education has established that students can only receive the Federal Pell Grant for the equivalent of 12 full-time semesters or 600%. This means a student that has received a Federal Pell Grant that is equivalent to 12 full-time semesters are no longer eligible to receive the Federal Pell Grant even if they have not completed their first bachelor's degree. Students who have reached their maximum Pell eligibility will be notified via their Student Aid Report in the Comment Section. Students can also monitor the percentage and semesters of Federal Pell eligibility used through the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

PA State Grant (does not have to be repaid)

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) uses information from the FAFSA to determine state grant eligibility. Eligible students must submit the FAFSA by May 1 to meet PHEAA's state grant deadline, be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits) in the Nursing program at RHSHS, and meet other eligibility requirements as outlined by PHEAA. The state grant amounts vary annually. PHEAA will notify you directly of your state grant eligibility. This notification usually occurs during May.

Student Loans

Student loans can help fill the gap between the cost of attendance and the amounts received from scholarships and grants. It is important to remember that these funds need to be repaid, with interest, so students are encouraged to only borrow the amount that they actually need. The federal government has a variety of federal loan options available for students and parents, and we encourage you to review the following information carefully before making any decisions about your loans.

If you have previously borrowed federal student loans, you should begin by reviewing your borrowing history at using your FSA ID. This will give you a better idea of how much you have borrowed to date and what your repayment may look like after graduation.

There are borrowing limits on the maximum amount you are eligible to borrow each academic year (annual loan limit) and in total (aggregate loan limit). You do not have to make payments on Direct Loans while you are enrolled at least half-time. You also have a six-month grace period after you graduate or drop below half-time enrollment before you begin repayment.

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan

Subsidized loans are low-interest loans and are available to eligible students who demonstrate financial need based on the results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You are not charged interest on these loans while you are in school at least half-time (6 credits) and during deferment periods. The interest on the subsidized loan begins once your 6 month grace period ends. These loans do not require a credit check. A small origination fee is withheld from the loan by the U.S. Department of Education when it is disbursed to you.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Unsubsidized loans are low-interest loans and are available to students regardless of financial need (although the FAFSA must still be completed and filed). Interest accrues from the time it is first disbursed to you. You can pay the interest while you are in school or allow it to accrue and be capitalized (added to the principal of the loan) upon repayment. These loans do not require a credit check. A small origination fee is withheld from the loan by the U.S. Department of Education when it is disbursed to you.

Federal Direct PLUS Loan

Parents of dependent students may apply for a Direct PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students) to help pay for their student’s education as long as certain eligibility requirements are met including, but not limited to, creditworthiness, citizenship, and enrollment status. Parents may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid received. If the parent is denied due to credit reasons and an endorser is not available, the student may be eligible to borrow an additional Direct Unsubsidized Loan.

WARNING: Students suspected of applying for a Federal Parent PLUS Loan using their parent’s information without parental consent will be referred to the Federal Office of Inspector General for further review.  

Private Education Loan

Students (and parents of dependent students) can borrow additional loan funds to assist in financing any gap that may exist between the cost of education and the amount of financial aid received. These private education loans, also known as alternative loans, are provided by commercial lenders and are not supported by state or federal financial aid funds.

Note: For students enrolled in Title IV eligible programs at RHSHS such as Nursing or Medical Imaging, you are strongly encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered first for federal and state aid including Federal Pell Grants, Federal Direct Student Loans and Federal Direct Parent PLUS loans (if dependent). Federal Direct Loans may have terms and conditions that may be more favorable than the terms and conditions of private education loans.

A private education loan is typically issued in the student’s name and most often requires a credit-worthy cosigner, who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, to get the best rates and terms. Students should compare interest rates, fees, and repayment options such as deferment and forbearance. Maximum loan amounts, loan terms, borrower qualification, repayment schedules, and interest rates vary among lenders. Some private education loans may require interest payments while the student is enrolled in school. Federal regulations require that a private educational lender must obtain a private education loan self-certification form. The student completes the form and submits it directly back to the lender.

Most credit checks performed by lenders expire between 90 to 120 days. Students should begin applying 60 days before the start of the semester. Students who need to borrow for both the fall and spring semesters are encouraged to complete their loan application for the entire year instead of taking out a separate loan for each term. Loans will be disbursed in two payments – after the drop/add period of each semester in your loan period.

Students have the right to select the private education lender of his/her choice. Neither RHSHS nor the Financial Aid Office endorses, recommends, or promotes any specific lenders or their products. A private education loan is an agreement between the borrower, co-signer (if any), and the lender. RHSHS cannot be held liable if the borrower is dissatisfied with interest rates, other terms, and/or services provided by the lender.


FAST Choice is a lender comparison tool offered by Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation that allows you to compare lenders to identify those loans that will best meet your specific needs and then submit your application through this website. If you do not see a lender of your choice on the FASTChoice website, contact the lender directly for application and disclosure information.

Note: By clicking on the link below, you will be directed away from the RHSHS website.

FASTChoice Loan Counseling and Lender Selection