PHEAA Releases First-Ever Pennsylvania State Grant Outcomes Study

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Outcomes of 34,600 State Grant Recipients Highlight Program's Success

Harrisburg, PA (April 7, 2015)—The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) released today the agency's Pennsylvania State Grant Program Outcomes Study. This report measured a variety of specific student outcomes to gain a better understanding of the program's effectiveness.

The study tracked student outcomes of nearly 34,600 State Grant recipients from the 2007-08 academic year cohort for a six-year period. Measures such as graduation rates, persistence rates, time-to-degree, and dollars awarded per completion were tracked and analyzed.

The study found that full-time State Grant recipients achieved higher graduation rates than their peers, nationally and in Pennsylvania. Additional highlights include:

  • Overall, first-year persistence rates for State Grant recipients are higher than comparable national rates for first-time college students.
  • On average, State Grant recipients take approximately 4 years to complete a bachelor's degree and fewer than 3 years to complete an associate degree.
  • During the 6-year period of the study, 74 percent of all State Grant funding for the measured cohort was awarded to students who achieved some type of credential.

"The State Grant Program is a financial lifeline for thousands of students who may not be able to afford a higher education otherwise," said Representative Adolph, PHEAA Board Chairman. "With such a large investment by the Commonwealth, $344 million in the current year, this report highlights the program's success over the long-term that goes far beyond the General Assembly's appropriation of financial aid funding."

PHEAA's Board of Directors allocated $75 million from the agency's business earnings to supplement the program for 2014-15, which brought total funding to $420 million. This enabled PHEAA to provide grant awards to 177,000 Pennsylvania students, with a maximum award of $4,011.

PHEAA has provided more than $9.4 billion in grant awards to 6.4 million students since the program began in 1965.

"The benefits of the Program are obvious to Pennsylvania families across several generations," said Senator Wayne D. Fontana, PHEAA Board Vice Chairman. "This is our first effort to gain a deeper understanding of how the program has a long-term impact on individual recipients and on economic wellness of the Commonwealth."

PHEAA plans to measure outcomes for subsequent groups of State Grant recipients to track long-term trends while gaining actionable insights.

The complete study is available for review at PHEAA.org/SGoutcomes (PDF).

For information on the higher education financial aid process, schedules for upcoming FAFSA Completion Sessions, reminders of financial aid deadlines, and information pertaining to planning for higher education, students can join PHEAA on Facebook at Facebook.com/pheaa.aid. Additionally, video tutorials explaining the student aid process and types of aid available can be found at YouTube.com/PHEAAstudentAid.