PHEAA Encourages Students to Complete the FAFSA® Prior to Upcoming State Grant Deadline

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May 1 is deadline for need-based Pennsylvania State Grant Program

Harrisburg, PA (April 20, 2011)—The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is reminding students and families that the application filing deadline for the Pennsylvania State Grant Program is May 1. This deadline applies to all new applicants who plan to enroll in an undergraduate baccalaureate degree program, a college transfer program at two-year public or junior colleges, and all renewal applicants.

"The need-based State Grant awards are not only available to full-time students but are also available to part-time students and returning students," notes Representative William Adolph, PHEAA Board Chairman. "Any student considering higher education should apply because unlike student loans, State Grants are "gift aid" and do not have to be paid back."

To determine eligibility for a need-based State Grant, families must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). Applicants can access the FAFSA online at either PHEAA.org/FAFSA or fafsa.gov. Completing the FAFSA online saves time and helps eliminate errors.

In addition to the FAFSA, applicants must complete a Pennsylvania State Grant Form (SGF) which can be accessed directly from the FAFSA on the Web by following the click-through on the FAFSA confirmation page. The SGF collects additional data elements not requested on the federal application and is only required for first-time State Grant applicants.

Students who have already submitted their FAFSA but have not submitted their SGF will be invited by email to visit Account Access through the Secure Sign-in at PHEAA.org to complete their State Grant Form.

"Taking advantage of the State Grant Program helps to minimize student loan debt," notes Senator Wayne Fontana, PHEAA Board Vice Chairman. "For families trying to cover the cost of tuition, a State Grant award can also reduce the out-of-pocket expense associated with college costs."

The Pennsylvania State Grant Program is administered by PHEAA at no cost to taxpayers, allowing every appropriated dollar to go directly to students. Approximately 185,000 awards were disbursed to students for the 2010-11 academic year.

Students who are first-time applicants planning to enroll in a business, trade or technical school, a hospital school of nursing, or a terminal (non-transferable two-year degree) program at a community, junior or four-year college have until August 1 to file their FAFSA to determine eligibility for a State Grant award.

Students and families with questions about the FAFSA or the State Grant Program can also call toll-free at 800-692-7392.

For information on the higher education financial aid process, schedules for upcoming financial aid nights and FAFSA Completion Sessions, reminders of financial aid deadlines, and video clips offering tips and information pertaining to planning for higher education, students can join PHEAA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pheaa.aid.