Pennsylvania ranked among nation's most supportive of students with financial need

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Harrisburg, PA (October 22, 2015)—The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) today announced survey findings from the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP) which analyzes state-sponsored need-based financial aid programs.

The survey shows that Pennsylvania continues to rank at or near the top in the nation in terms of total public funding in support of higher education and in the number of students who benefit.

Pennsylvania ranks first in support of grant aid to students, as a percentage of public funding for higher education, among states with the highest dollar support for need-based aid.

While the Commonwealth is the sixth most populous state in the nation, the Pennsylvania State Grant Program ranked third behind California and New York in the total amount of need-based funding provided to students. Pennsylvania also ranked third in the number of students who benefited from state grant awards during the survey period.

"The Pennsylvania State Grant Program has awarded nearly $10 billion in grant awards to millions of Pennsylvania students over the years," said Representative William F. Adolph, PHEAA Board Chairman. "As a member of the legislature and PHEAA's Board of Directors, I commend my colleagues for their continued strong support of Pennsylvania students and schools."

Each year, NASSGAP completes a state-by-state survey of state-funded expenditures for postsecondary student financial aid. This report represents data from the 2013-14 academic year.

"For many students, the Pennsylvania State Grant Program is a deciding financial factor that enables them to afford a higher education," said Senator Wayne D. Fontana, PHEAA Board Vice Chairman. "It's gratifying to see the Commonwealth being recognized nationally as a leader in making our students, and their families, a priority through this important program."

For 2014-15, the Commonwealth appropriated $344.8 million to support the State Grant Program. This amount, combined with a $75 million supplement provided by PHEAA, funded a total of approximately $420 million in grant awards to more than 170,000 Pennsylvania students.

PHEAA's $75 million supplement is funded entirely from the agency's business earnings, which is in addition to the $15.8 million that is used to administer the Program and other public services, at no cost to taxpayers.