Pennsylvania Student Grants for College

Fund Your Education with Free Grant Money

Grants and scholarships involve college funding that does not require repayment, so these forms of aid are go-to resources for cash-strapped college students. Scholarships reward performance, like high academic achievement or athletic success. Grants, on the other hand, are often issued based on financial need.

Government grant programs offer the deepest pockets for higher education, including stalwart federal options like Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants (FSEOG). Using assorted metrics, the Department of Education determines who requires the highest levels of assistance paying for college – these students are selected to receive educational grant money.

States contribute to positive outcomes for financially challenged residents. Supplemental programs bridge the affordability gap that remains for college students, after federal financial aid has been applied to higher education expenses.. State programs vary in scope and depth, so consult your high school guidance counselor or campus financial aid administrator for current details about need-based grant programs available in your state.

Pennsylvania takes an active role in educating state residents, facilitating several grants administered by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. These programs illustrate the state’s commitment to education:

Assistance From the Federal GovernmentPennsyvania college grants

The first step toward securing financial assistance for college is to file a standardized, federal application called FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA) is used by the Department of Education, and by individual state and college financial aid administrators, to evaluate each applicant’s precise college funding needs.

Using information like family size and income levels, financial aid professionals determine how much your family might realistically contribute toward education expenses. Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) lays the groundwork for assembling a financial aid package that addresses your needs.

States like Pennsylvania use the federal FAFSA form, and filing deadlines are not always in-line with those maintained by Uncle Sam. Always submit your FAFSA by the earliest deadline required by your school, state, or academic department.

Important Grant Information for Prospective Students of Higher Education in Pennsylvania

PHEAA or Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency administers state grant programs for students attending college within the state, as well as Pennsylvania residents attending colleges and universities in other states. Successful applicants are state residents for at least 12 consecutive months prior to application for PHEAA aid.

PHEAA sets the guidelines for grants and scholarships, including amounts awarded to veterans who attend out-of-state schools. The quasi-governmental agency works closely with colleges and universities, establishing guidelines and issuing reports concerning tuition rates, room and board, cost of books, and other higher education concerns. The organization puts forth a series of financial aid options, including loans, work-study programs, scholarships, and grants.

State Grants in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania offers higher education grants as-needed, to qualified applicants displaying financial need. Successful participation in the Pennsylvania State Grant Program carries these basic eligibility requirements:

  • High school diploma or equivalent required to apply
  • Attend approved post-secondary institution of higher education
  • Attend half-time (minimum), defined as at least six credit hours each semester
  • Enroll in approved academic program
  • Enroll in program of minimum two-year duration
  • Program credits are earned in the classroom (minimum 50%)
  • Satisfactory academic progress is maintained, according to PHEAA standards
  • No bachelor’s degree or equivalent credentials earned previously
  • State resident of Pennsylvania
  • Eligible for state grant funds (have remaining unused eligibility)
  • Of sound character (not incarcerated)
  • Not in default on repayment of previously issued federal student loan
  • Comply with filing deadlines

Application materials can be submitted online, including FAFSA data. Amounts awarded to each Grant Program participant are determined by individual circumstances, and the actual costs of attending particular colleges. Low-income families, with students attending private four-year universities qualify in excess of four-thousand dollars annually.

Pennsylvania Summer State Grant Program provides additional funding opportunities for students enrolled for summer terms. At least six credits must be earned to qualify, and most other general eligibility requirements are the same as those enforced for receiving other state grants.


* NETS is no longer being funded by the State of Pennsylvania. This listing is maintained as a historical reference and to offer information should the initiative start granting educational funding again in the future.

NETS or Pennsylvania New Economy Technology Scholarship Program advances scholarship resources for studies in technology disciplines. Successful participation requires a commitment to work in the technology sector, in the State of Pennsylvania, after graduation.

It should be noted that one year of work is required for every one year of grant funds received. This program is considered a scholarship/and or grant. It is provided for high school graduates in the State of Pennsylvania who maintain a 3.0 grade point average, but the awards are also issued based on the financial needs of student

Specialty Grants Offered to Pennsylvania College and University Students

Special financial aid incentives target certain student groups like women, minorities, disabled persons and children of veterans – to name a few. These programs illustrate student-specific efforts to draw under-represented Pennsylvania groups into successful higher education roles:

Blind or Deaf Beneficiary Grants

Blind or Deaf Beneficairy Grants help state residents who are enrolled at least half-time, in approved university programs. FAFSA results are required for consideration, and awards cannot exceed $500 each, per semester. Funding is limited, so grants are disbursed on a first-come first-served basis, until resources are depleted.

Path Program

Students who receive funding from PHEAA, like Pennsylvania State Grants, may be eligible for additional financial considerations facilitated by partnerships with Path Organizations. Partnerships for Access to Higher Education provide supplemental recognition for needy students who qualify for state aid. Private funding bolsters public assistance, to meet the full needs of each participant.

Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grant

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grant is awarded to institutions and also to individuals attending colleges and universities in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts is located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The organization works in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University Center for Arts Management and Technology as co-sponsors of the awards. Each grant value is as high as $20,000 and, funds are awarded based upon the need and merit of the project under consideration.

Pennsylvania Chafee Education and Training Grant

The Pennsylvania Chafee Education and Training Grant program is open to Pennsylvania undergraduates who have previously participated in the state’s foster care system. To qualify, the school of attendance must be approved for Federal Title IV Assistance Programs, and the student must already be enrolled. Individual awards are approved for as much as $3000 each, but may not exceed the annual cost of tuition and related expenses.

Pennsylvania Post-secondary Education Gratuity Program

The Pennsylvania Postsecondary Education Gratuity Program offers aid to the children of firefighters, police, and other public servants who lose their lives in the execution of their official duties.

Eligible staffers include prison personnel and members of the National Guard. This funding provides tuition waivers, room and board, and covers other college-related fees, for each eligible dependant. Successful candidates are Pennsylvania residents enrolled in approved programs.


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