We are committed to promoting and maintaining integrity, accuracy, and timeliness in the certification and delivery of financial assistance to students and their families. Currently, we conduct routine reviews in an effort to better serve the financial aid community.

To learn more about Program Review, view/download the PA State Grant & Special Programs Program Review Guide – May 2021 (PDF).

Contact us if you have any questions or suggestions.

Type of Review Characteristics Sample Size
Routine Program Review
  • Reviews are conducted approximately every 2 to 3 years.
  • Institution policies and practices are reviewed, as well as a sample of student accounts, for one designated award year.
  • A routine review takes approximately 1-3 days to complete.
  • Findings report is mailed to the President of the institution and the Director of Financial Aid will be provided with a copy. For SWSP community employers, the letter is mailed to the primary contact for the organization.
  • The institution must respond to and resolve any findings within 30 days of the initial report or request an extension. This includes making all required refunds.

PA State Grant: 30-45 files. For institutions with less than 30 files, 100% of the files will be reviewed.

Special Programs: Ten records per program or 100% of all records if there are less than 10. If only special programs are being reviewed, PHEAA staff may adjust the sample size.

Follow-up Review
  • Review is conducted the following year after a previous year yielded a PA Grant error rate that exceeded the acceptable limit (4%) or four or more administration findings were uncovered.*
  • PHEAA reserves the right to conduct a follow-up review regardless of the error rate or numbers of findings.
  • Institution policies and practices are reviewed, as well as a sample of student accounts, for one designated award year.
  • Review takes approximately 1-3 days to complete.
  • Findings report is mailed to the President of the institution and the Director of Financial Aid will be provided with a copy. For PA SWSP community employers, the letter will be mailed to the primary contact of the organization.
  • The institution must respond to and resolve any findings within 30 days of the initial report or request an extension. This includes remitting all required refunds.

PA State Grant: 30-45 files. For institutions with less than 30 files, 100% of the files will be reviewed.

Special Programs: Ten records per program or 100% of all records if there are less than 10. If only special programs are being reviewed, PHEAA staff may adjust the sample size.

Probationary Review
  • Review is conducted for institutions that, for a second year in a row, have an error rate greater than 8.9%*.
  • Institution policies and practices are reviewed, as well as a sample of student accounts, for one designated award year.
  • Review takes approximately 1-3 days to complete.
  • Findings report is mailed to the President of the institution and the Director of Financial Aid will be provided with a copy.
  • The institution must respond and resolve any findings within 30 days of the initial report or request an extension. This includes making all required refunds.

PA State Grant: 30-45 files. For institutions with less than 30 files, 100% of the files will be reviewed.

Special Programs: Ten records per program or 100% of all records if there are less than 10. If only special programs are being reviewed, PHEAA staff may adjust the sample size.

Institution Closing Review
  • Review is conducted when an institution closes or loses eligibility, and scheduled by PHEAA within 30 days of closure date or loss of eligibility date.
  • More than 1 academic year can be reviewed, if applicable, and the timeframe of the review will be determined by the number of files.
  • Findings report is mailed to the President of the institution and the Director of Financial Aid will be provided with a copy. For PA SWSP community employers, the letter will be mailed to the primary contact of the organization.
  • The institution must respond and resolve any findings within 10 days of the initial report or request an extension. This includes making all required refunds.

100% of student files and will encompass the PA State Grant and all Special Programs.

Audit
  • An audit is conducted when there is reported or suspected fraud at the institution. The audit may be unannounced.

Sample size is at PHEAA’s discretion but typically includes 100% of student files, including both PA State Grant and all Special Programs.


*All Special Program findings are excluded from error rate calculations and are considered administrative findings. The error rate is calculated for PA State Grant only. (For more information, refer to PA State Grant Handbook.)