Pennsylvania State Aid Programs

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) was created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1963 to improve higher education opportunities for residents of the Commonwealth. Over the years, it has evolved into one of the nation’s leading student aid organization offering many types of scholarships to those that qualify. (Source: 2015-16 Financial Aid Resource Manual, PHEAA, page 10).

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Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) State Grant

In order to receive a State Grant, a student must demonstrate financial need and meet all eligibility requirements. To be considered for a PHEAA State Grant you must meet the following criteria:

  • Have earned less than a Bachelor’s degree.
  • File the FAFSA before the state deadline (see below for filing dates).
  • Complete a PHEAA State Grant Application.
  • Demonstrate exceptional financial need.
  • High school graduate as stipulated in the PA State Grant Law.
  • Be enrolled in a two- or three-year program.
  • Be a resident of Pennsylvania as defined by PHEAA.
  • Be attending at least half-time.
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by PHEAA.
  • Not be in default or pending default on an educational loan.
  • Not received the maximum number of PA State Grants permitted.

For further eligibility information, refer to pheaa.org.

Filing Dates

For incoming, current, and transfer students who have not previously applied for or received a PHEAA State Grant, the deadline to file the FAFSA for state grant award consideration for the Fall Term is August 1. The FAFSA may be filed as early as January 1.

For students who are present recipients of a PHEAA State Grant or those transfer students that have previously received a PHEAA State Grant, the deadline to file the FAFSA for state grant award consideration for the next academic year beginning the Fall Term or Summer Internship is May 1.

State Grant Eligibility for a Transfer Student

If a PHEAA State Grant was awarded at a prior institution, requirements for meeting academic progress standards must be met before a grant can be awarded.

  • Student must submit an official academic transcript from the prior college(s) attended.
  • Semester and quarter credits will be evaluated by the Financial Aid office to determine academic progress.

For more information about PHEAA and all its programs please visit pheaa.org.

Special State Grant Programs

  • Partnership or Access to Higher Education (PATH) — PHEAA partners with community-based Pennsylvania organizations that offer grants or scholarships to eligible Pennsylvania residents.
  • Ready to Succeed Scholarship Program (RTSS) — This program provides income-based scholarship to academic achievers.
  • Educational Assistance Program (EAP) — This program is for students who enter into a service commitment with the Pennsylvania National Guard for a period of 6 years.
  • Blind or Deaf Beneficiary Grant (BDBG) — This program helps blind or deaf students defray the necessary expenses of postsecondary education.
  • Chafee Education and Training Grant Program (ETG) — This program provides grant assistance to Pennsylvania undergraduate students aging out of foster care who are attending an approved postsecondary institution.

Click here for more information on Special State Grant programs.