FAQ

General Information

WHAT IS PROGRAM MODERNIZATION?

We are taking steps to provide students, families, and program partners in the Commonwealth with a comprehensive solution for PHEAA-administered financial aid—we want to make it easy to apply and manage program activities. Our new grant system, GrantUs, will modernize how we administer the PA State Grant Program as well as over 20 other special programs that we administer. Through this new platform, we will see streamlined application processes and additional self-service options for partners and students, in addition to other new functionality.

WHY DO WE NEED A NEW GRANT PLATFORM?

We recently took a closer look at our technology and practices to find ways to modernize. When we looked at the existing grant platform, we recognized that it would benefit greatly from a transformation. As PHEAA's program administration activities increase, the number of customers we serve increases. We need an updated, state-of-the-art solution to meet this demand.

WHAT KIND OF TOOL WILL IT BE?

We will deploy a cloud-based, off-the-shelf product that is flexible, highly configurable, user friendly, and feature-rich.

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THIS CHANGE?

We want to provide you with:

  • Improved user experience: A modern and user-friendly platform to get what you need faster.
  • More capabilities: With the modernized platform, new and improved capabilities will be available to support you in your management of the PHEAA-administered programs.
WHAT DOES GRANTUS MEAN?

GrantUs is a mash-up of the words grant and us. It has a direct correlation to the purpose of the platform—an inclusive place to manage grants and provide affordable access to higher education.

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION? (Updated 4/23/2024)

Initial resources for students and families and training materials for program partners are now available. To ensure information remains up-to-date and easily accessible, we will post project updates online.

IS PHEAA AWARE THAT MANY OTHER CHANGES IN FINANCIAL AID ADMINISTRATION ARE ALSO OCCURRING THIS YEAR?

Yes. We are sensitive to changes occurring at the federal level, but we see the timing as an opportunity to align the new platform launch with the necessary updates.

HOW WILL THE NEW PLATFORM IMPACT PHEAA OPERATIONS?
The modernized system brings us process efficiency and more automation which allows our staff to provide enhanced service to our students and program partners.
WHICH PHEAA-ADMINISTERED PROGRAMS WILL BE ADDED TO THE NEW PLATFORM?
All of our special programs will be housed in GrantUs. This includes the PA State Grant Program as well as the PA State Work-Study Program, Chafee Education and Training Grant Program, PA Targeted Industry Program (PA-TIP), and PA Act 101 Program—just to name a few!

Schools & Community Partners

WHAT SHOULD MY FINANCIAL AID STAFF DO TO PREPARE FOR THE MIGRATION TO GRANTUS? (Added 11/14/2023)

First, ensure your contacts are updated across all programs. Roles in GrantUs will be more fine-tuned than in our current system. The Business Partner Access Management System (BPAMS) should be reviewed for individual access levels as well as contact information to ensure more accurate data migration.

Also be sure to review the contacts listed in the monthly State Grant and Special Programs Institutional Contacts Report that is provided via PageCenterX to ensure accuracy. If updates are needed to any of the contacts listed on the monthly PageCenterX report, submit the updates directly in Partner Interface for the following programs:

  • PA State Grant Program
  • PA Institutional Assistance Grants (IAG) Program
  • PA Ready to Succeed Scholarship (RTSS) Program
  • PA Targeted Industry Program (PA-TIP)
  • PA National Guard Educational Assistance Program (EAP)
  • PA National Guard Military Family Education Program (MFEP)

All other programs require an email to the program mailbox.

Second, be sure that each person in your Financial Aid Office has their own unique email address. In the GrantUs system, group email addresses (such as finaid@school.edu or grantsteam@community.com, where the mailbox is accessed by multiple people) cannot be used as usernames.

Finally, remember that the 2023-24 award year will be managed via our current systems (PageCenterX, myFileGateway, Rocket Terminal Emulator (TE), and Partner Interface). PHEAA strongly encourages all financial aid staff to communicate these updates to additional institutional staff (for example, admissions, registrar, bursar, etc.) as new GrantUs updates may also affect their workflows.

WHO IS IMPACTED BY THE LAUNCH OF THIS NEW PLATFORM?

All students, families, secondary and postsecondary schools, partners, and organizations that interact with one of our PHEAA-administered programs will be impacted. When and how much your organization will be impacted will depend on which programs you use.

WHAT CURRENT TOOLS WILL THIS NEW PLATFORM REPLACE?

We expect our new platform to replace and centralize use of:

  • Alec and Partner Interface
  • PageCenter and PageCenterX
  • Rocket TE
  • Business Partner Access Management System (BPAMS)
  • MyFileGateway

Organizations and applicants may need to use both new and legacy methods for program administration and application processes until all programs transition into GrantUs.

NOTE: Use of these tools may still be required if your organization partners with PHEAA for other business activities (such as PA Forward administration, Student Loan Notification Tool, etc.). GrantUs will only encompass administration and functions of the PA State Grant Program and other special programs.

WILL I STILL BE ABLE TO ACCESS HISTORICAL DATA AFTER THE MODERNIZATION PROJECT IS COMPLETE?

We are assessing what historical data must be migrated into GrantUs. Please keep in mind that programs and data elements will be migrated on an iterative schedule; until all data is available in GrantUs, you will retain access to your current information. We will communicate when access to the old system ends, and legacy tools are turned off.

HOW WILL THE NEW SYSTEM INTERACT WITH OUR CURRENT FINANCIAL AID MANAGEMENT (FAM) SYSTEM?

GrantUs will provide most users with the ability to:

  • Create ad hoc, on-demand reporting
  • Upload information for PHEAA to review and process
  • Export information that can then be uploaded into your FAM system
I DO NOT CURRENTLY USE THE PHEAA SYSTEM TO ADMINISTER A PROGRAM. WILL THIS CHANGE IN THE FUTURE?

Yes. As we modernize our grant management activities, we will work closely with all of our program partners to onboard you to the new system. It is our goal and top priority to make program administration easier for everyone.

MY ORGANIZATION DOES NOT CURRENTLY PARTICIPATE IN A PHEAA-ADMINISTERED PROGRAM. HOW AM I IMPACTED?

While your organization may not participate in a PHEAA-administered program this year, please remember that may change in the future. It is also important for organizations that support financial aid outreach activities to understand and be aware of this transformational project so you can best support your students.

HOW AND WHEN WILL I BE TRAINED ON THE NEW PLATFORM? (Updated 2/20/2024)

We will provide a comprehensive, multi-channel training plan. We expect training to start in early 2024 and continue through the final program deployment. We will publish training opportunities as they become available.

WILL A TEST VERSION OF GRANTUS BE AVAILABLE FOR USERS? (Updated 2/20/2024)

We plan to preview our new platform at different conferences and training events. These events will allow our partners to explore certain GrantUs functionality. Stay tuned for those announcements and opportunities!

HOW CAN I ASK ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS THAT ARE NOT ALREADY COVERED ONLINE?

To submit a question, email grantus@pheaa.org.

We ask all partners to keep questions focused on the upcoming platform functionality and implementation timeline. Questions about state regulations and policy are not being prioritized through this project.

Student Support

WHEN WILL THE NEW PLATFORM BE AVAILABLE? (Updated 2/20/2024)

We aim to launch our platform for the PA State Grant and all special programs by fall 2024. The initial launch is targeted for early 2024 and will focus on our flagship program, the PA State Grant. We will make iterative deployments for additional programs and functionality on a bimonthly schedule after that. Be sure to bookmark this page to follow our progress!

HOW WILL STUDENTS GET INFORMATION ABOUT THE NEW PLATFORM?
We will communicate about the new platform with students and families in various ways throughout our deployment process. While we will use our public website, printed publications, social media channels, and community events to share information, we also recognize the power our program partners have to help in sharing relevant details about this project. When we are ready to communicate to students and families, we will share those updates and resources with you to prepare you for possible questions as well.
HOW WILL YOU ADDRESS THE GAP BETWEEN GRANTUS GOING LIVE AND THE RELEASE OF THE 2024-25 FAFSA®? (Updated 2/20/2024)

While the U.S. Department of Education released the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) in December, Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) data will not be sent from Federal Student Aid (FSA) until mid-March. We will begin GrantUs deployment after we receive and test ISIR data from FSA. This means there will be gaps between the FAFSA opening in December, when ISIR data is received in mid-March, and when GrantUs launches.

Therefore, a student who submits their 2024-25 FAFSA before GrantUs goes live will need to return to GrantUs later to complete the 2024-25 PA State Grant Form (SGF) or Status Notice. When GrantUs is live and data transmissions are received, we will automatically send an email to any students who have a PA State Grant record and whose ISIR data we receive. The email will let them know that GrantUs is now available and will provide instructions on how to create a password to access their GrantUs account.

  • Students who are required to complete the SGF or Status Notice will be asked to create a GrantUs account and be presented with the option to complete the form.
  • Students who are not required to complete the SGF or Status Notice will be asked to create a GrantUs account to monitor their eligibility for the PA State Grant and other programs.

All emails sent from GrantUs will be sent from the NoReply@grantus.pheaa.org email address. This includes the invitation to create a password to log in to the user profile (student, school, or partner).

HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN IT IS TIME FOR ME TO ACCESS GRANTUS? (Added 4/23/2024)

We will email you about activating your GrantUs account once we receive your FAFSA information. Emails will come from NoReply@grantus.pheaa.org. This email is time-sensitive, so you are encouraged to act immediately!

If you cannot access the email before the activation link expires, use the link from your email to access GrantUs and choose Forgot Password to go through the setup process.

WHAT IS THE HIGH SCHOOL FORM THAT FIRST-TIME STUDENTS NEED TO COMPLETE FOR THE PA STATE GRANT PROGRAM? (Added 4/23/24)

The High School Form streamlines the collection of high school data from all first-time applicants. It also ensures quicker review of eligibility and reduces our requests for additional information. First-time applicants must complete the High School Form and PA State Grant Form in GrantUs.

WHY DO I NEED TO SET UP MULTIFACTOR AUTHENTICATION? (Updated 6/11/24)

Protecting your personal information is extremely important to PHEAA. That's why we require all GrantUs users to log in securely and use multifactor authentication. Students and parents can complete multifactor authentication via email or text message (if there is a phone number associated with the account).

NOTE: If you already set up your account with an authenticator, you can clear your browser cache and reload to see the email and text authentication options.

HOW DO I KNOW WHEN I CAN APPLY FOR A PA STATE GRANT? (Added 4/23/24)

We will invite you via email to set up a GrantUs account. We will send the invitation email after we receive and process the information from your FAFSA.

Please complete your FAFSA by the deadline—it is your first step in applying for a PA State Grant.

WHAT IF I NEED A PARENT OR GUARDIAN SIGNATURE ON MY APPLICATION? (Added 4/23/24)

The initial GrantUs release will not require a parent or guardian signature. If a parent or guardian signature is required, you will be able to invite them into GrantUs to complete the necessary information during your eligibility review process.

HOW WILL I KNOW IF I AM ELIGIBLE FOR AN AWARD? (Added 4/23/24)

We expect award information to be available in GrantUs during summer 2024.

WHO DO I ALERT IF I CHANGE SCHOOLS? (Added 4/23/24)

Currently, you must alert your school if you change schools. You will be able to notify schools of a change via the School Change Form in GrantUs during summer 2024.

HOW DO I CHANGE MY ADDRESS OR OTHER PERSONAL INFORMATION? (Added 4/23/24)

At this time, you can update personal information for your PA State Grant Form through your FAFSA. When we receive your FAFSA information, we will update your information in GrantUs.

After GrantUs launches, you will be able to update your personal information through your GrantUs profile.

I AM A RETURNING STUDENT. WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE CHANGES FROM LAST YEAR'S APPLICATION? (Added 4/23/24)

If you received a PA State Grant award last year and need to update your information, please make all applicable changes on your FAFSA. Students will be able to update their PA State Grant data in GrantUs during summer 2024.

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