Financial Aid Reference Page

Welcome to your Graduate Studies endeavor through Shippensburg University! Here at Ship, we know that financing one’s educational journey can be a daunting task for many students and families. It is our hope to make the process of financial planning as stress-free and comprehensive as possible!

Students frequently have concerns regarding their financial aid. Academic advisors are not expected to be experts in the complex, technical aspects, but advisors must be able to provide accurate information and assistance to students. Students with questions about financial aid or how withdrawing from a course may impact their financial aid should be directed to the Financial Aid Office.

Financial Aid Tips Every Graduate Student Should Know

  • A payment period at Shippensburg University is the entire fall term, or winter/spring terms combined, and/or Summer A and Summer B terms combined. 
  •  For Graduate Students, full-time status is a minimum enrollment in nine (9) credits, while part-time status is enrollment in six (6) credits.
  • Students must be enrolled in six (6) or more Financial Aid eligible credits. Loan funds cannot be disbursed until student is attending at least six (6) credits (part-time status). Students taking less than 6 credits will enter repayment of their federal student loans previously borrowed.
  • Classes that do not count toward the student’s degree will not be included in enrollment for the term in establishing financial aid eligibility.
  • To qualify for federal aid, graduate students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). At Shippensburg University, in order to make SAP for federal financial aid purposes a graduate student must complete 67% of attempted credits and maintain a 3.0 cumulative QPA.
  • Failing to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for one term results in a WARNING. If the student fails SAP two terms in a row, the student loses eligibility for federal aid. The student may resolve the situation by taking summer courses (without federal aid), or if extenuating circumstances exist, file an appeal to have eligibility for federal funding reinstated.
  • The SHIP financial aid counselors can counsel students on financial aid strategies.
  • Disbursement of aid and refund checks are handled through the Student Accounts Office.

Top Financial Aid Myths

  • Aid Qualification. “As a graduate student, I don’t qualify for financial aid.”
    • ANSWER: Graduate students absolutely qualify for financial aid. In regard to federal aid, graduate students are considered independent students and are eligible for $20,500 in direct unsubsidized loans per academic year. Graduate students may also seek out private alternative education loans, on-campus employment, and scholarships!
  • Scholarships. “Scholarships are only for undergraduate students.”
    • ANSWER: Shippensburg University provides scholarship opportunities for their graduate students, which can be found at The SU Foundation, PASSHE FOUNDATION Scholarships, and multiple other resources are great avenues for obtaining money to fund graduate studies!
  • Summer Coursework. “I can’t receive financial aid for summer coursework unless I enroll in at least six (6) credits.”
    • ANSWER: By taking out Alternative Education loans (i.e. PRIVATE student loans) graduate students CAN receive financial aid even while taking one three (3) credit course in the summer term. Only federal loans require the six (6) credit minimum.

FAQ Section

"In general, what types of financial assistance are available to graduate students?"

  • Scholarships
  • FEDERAL Student Loans of $20,500 per aid year are available to fund educational costs. Students must complete the FAFSA application online at Shippensburg University’s Federal School code is 003326.
    • Remember! An aid year covers three payment periods: Fall, winter/spring, and summer terms in that order.
  • Graduate PLUS loan option: This is a credit worthy loan. Student must apply and be approved to borrow this loan. This is a federal loan therefore the 6-credit minimum enrollment does apply.


"Do graduate students have access to on-campus student employment?" Yes!

  • Graduate Assistantships (GAs), through the Dean of Graduate Studies, provide a tuition waiver and allow students to work 250 hours per semester and 150 hours during the summer. The summer waiver is for one graduate course, and the semester waiver is for 9 to 15 graduate credits. The rate of pay is $10 per hour.
  • Student Life Assistantships (SLGAs), through the Student Affairs Division, provide a tuition waiver and allow students to work 400 hours per semester and 250 hours during the summer.
  • Student Payroll Positions (SPPs), through the Dean of Graduate Studies, do not provide a tuition waiver and allow students to work 250 hours per semester and 150 hours during the summer.  This is the only type of position available to part-time graduate students.  Priority is given to graduate students, but undergraduate students may apply.
  • Residence Director positions (available through the Dean of Students Office)


"How much federal aid am I eligible to receive as a graduate student?"

  • Graduate students are considered independent students, and may borrow up to $20,500 per school year in the form of Direct Unsubsidized Loans (


"How many credits must I be enrolled in for SUMMER term to receive federal aid?"

  • Graduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of six (6) credits at SHIPPENSBURG UNIVERSITY during the summer and have remaining Federal Student Loan eligibility in order to receive a Federal Direct Student Loan (SHIP Summer Direct Loan Application).


"If I exhaust my $20,500 of eligible federal aid during fall and winter/spring terms, how can I pay for summer coursework?" Graduate Students should plan accordingly for how they intend to finance summer coursework.

  • Graduate students enrolling in a minimum of six (6) credits across summer term may use federal loans.
  • Graduate students only completing three (3) credits across summer term and/or have exhausted their $20,500 yearly federal loan cap, can utilize multiple routes to pay for a three (3) credit summer course:
    • Semester Refund
      • If students overborrowed for fall and winter/spring terms, they can use the refunds from their loans to pay for summer coursework.
    • Private Alternative Education Loan
      • Please review the information on our alternative private loan web page (for Students, not parents) at
      • Upon accessing our web page, click on the embedded “ELM Select List” link. Under the drop box choose “graduate” as your program and then click the “next button.” After reading the disclosures page, click on the “view loans” button. The last page displays all 18 lenders accepted by SU.
      • Through ELM Select, lenders may be sorted by alphabetical order, Annual Percentage Rate (APR) low ascending, fixed rates, or variable rates.
      • Financial Aid Office provides information on both the Federal and Alternative education loan programs. The student will need to evaluate what is best for their situation.
    • Monthly Payment Plan
      • Make a payment plan with Student Accounts that allows the student to pay in monthly installments.