PHEAA to Provide $50 Million Supplement to the Pennsylvania State Grant Program

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Harrisburg, PA (June 16, 2011)—The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced the approval of a $50 million public service contribution by PHEAA to the Commonwealth that will be used to supplement the Pennsylvania State Grant Program. This supplement, as authorized today by the agency's Board of Directors, is funded entirely from PHEAA's business earnings and is in addition to the $15 million that it incurs annually to administer the Grant Program and provide public service outreach, at no cost to taxpayers.

During recent years, PHEAA worked to overcome significant challenges, including market disruptions and changes in federal regulations that have impacted the way it earns revenue. Prudent fiscal management, combined with several years of reform, restructuring and new business development, has positioned the agency to provide this supplement to the 2011-12 State Grant appropriation.

"As a father of three college graduates, I understand the importance of making every higher education dollar go as far as possible to benefit as many as possible," said Representative William Adolph, PHEAA Board Chairman. "In keeping with our core public service mission, we have worked diligently to cut costs and boost productivity to ensure that we are best able to serve the needs of Pennsylvania students and families struggling to afford higher education."

The Governor's proposed State Grant appropriation of $380.9 million, in addition to the PHEAA-provided supplement, is expected to increase both award amounts and the number of recipients for the 2011-12 academic year. Specifically, the $50 million supplement is expected to increase the maximum grant award from the 2010-11 level of $3,541 to $4,309, an increase of approximately $700. Additionally, the supplement will benefit community college students by moving the annual State Grant application deadline for non-renewal students from May 1 to August 1, which is expected to provide awards to approximately 15,000 additional students.

"I want to thank my colleagues on the PHEAA Board of Directors for making this investment and providing additional financial assistance to Pennsylvania students who are continuing or seeking higher education," Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis said. "Governor Tom Corbett and I recognize the financial challenges facing families throughout the Commonwealth and we are appreciative of PHEAA's efforts and commitment to making higher education accessible to all Pennsylvanians."

"Today's economic circumstances are forcing many families in the Commonwealth to do more with less—or to completely do without," said Senator Wayne Fontana, PHEAA Board Vice Chairman. "By running an efficient, publically-accountable business operation, PHEAA is doing more with less while saving precious tax dollars during an especially tight budget year."

Once the Commonwealth budget is passed, final awards will be recalculated for all students and they will be notified of any changes to their eligibility.

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.