Summary of the State Higher Education Grant Program Eligibility Requirements for Colleges and Universities Located in Pennsylvania

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Institutional Requirements

In addition to PHEAA Regulations 121.32 and 121.33, the State Grant Policy Manual, and current State Grant Certification Procedures, specific institution and program eligibility requirements are utilized for colleges and universities located in Pennsylvania.

If the institution is a college or university located within this Commonwealth, the institution shall be approved by the Department of Education and shall be accredited or a recognized candidate for accreditation with an accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). To be approved, an institution shall be other than a school of theology or a theological seminary as determined by the Agency.

Required documentation shall include signed agreement forms provided by the Agency, a letter of interest from the school, a letter of approval from the school's CHEA-recognized accrediting agency, an approval letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the school's most recent catalog.

Agency approval of schools shall not be permanent and will be subject to review at any time and specifically upon change of administration and/or ownership, or upon receipt of a complaint regarding operational procedures. It is the responsibility of the school under the current ownership to notify the Agency immediately of an impending change in administration and/or ownership, as well as changes in the institution's accredited or licensing status. A school must merit its placement and maintenance on the approved list.

Program Requirements

To be approved for a State higher education grant, an applicant must enroll in a program of study approved by the Agency and offered by an institution approved by the Agency for participation in the State Higher Education Grant Program. An approved program of study must comply with the following:

  • An approved program of study must be a program of instruction of at least 2 academic years which must be the equivalent of at least 60 semester credit hours or at least 1800 clock hours of instruction (1500 clock hours in the case of programs leading to the associate degree in specialized technology or specialized business) except that, other than for those community college programs which are measured in credit hours, programs not leading to a degree must be measured in clock hours, with at least 30 semester credit hours or 900 clock hours earned through instruction within the classroom, and must be presented over at least 15 calendar months.
  • An approved program of study must require that at least 50% of the credits needed for completion of the program at the approved institution be earned through instruction within the classroom.

Application Deadlines

To be considered for institutional approval for an ensuing academic year (fall/spring), an institution in Pennsylvania must forward a letter of interest and other required documentation prior to August 1. In accordance with Agency Regulation, Section 121.33(4), the earliest participation date for participation requests received after August 1 but prior to the following May 1, is the ensuing Summer term. The earliest consideration date for applications received after May 1 but prior to August 1 is the ensuing fall term.

Additional information on institutional qualification for participation in the State Higher Education Grant Program may be obtained by contacting Institution Compliance & Eligibility staff.

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    (717) 720-2740
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    (717) 720-3933 (fax)

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Institution Compliance & Eligibility
1200 North 7th Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102-1444