PA Blind or Deaf Higher Education Beneficiary Grant (BDBG) Program

This state-funded program provides financial aid to blind or deaf undergraduate or graduate students attending a postsecondary institution.

Am I Eligible?

To be considered for the BDBG Program, you must:

  • Be a Pennsylvania resident.
  • Submit one of the following types of written documentation to PHEAA with your first application:
    • A signed letter confirming you have been evaluated and are eligible to receive benefits from the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR).

    OR

    • A completed, signed, and dated Medical Professional Certification Form from your physician regarding your visual and/or hearing impairment (located on the last page of the BDBG Application).
  • Be enrolled at least half-time in a postsecondary institution and maintain satisfactory academic progress (as determined by the postsecondary institution).
  • File the FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for the academic year for which the BDBG funds are being requested.

How Much Can I Expect to Receive?

The maximum BDBG cannot exceed $500 within an academic year. The grant can replace your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) but cannot exceed your cost of attendance.

This program awards funds on a first-come, first-served basis.

How Do I Apply?

  1. Download and complete the BDBG Application. (PDF)
  2. Contact OVR at 1-866-375-8264 for documentation stating that you qualify for OVR benefits.

    OR

    Contact your physician to complete and sign the last page of the BDBG Application (Medical Professional Certification).

  3. File the FAFSA for the academic year for which the BDBG funds are being requested.
  4. Submit your completed 2021-22 application and additional documentation by March 31, 2022.

    By Mail

    PHEAA
    PA State Grant and Special Programs
    P.O. Box 8157
    Harrisburg, PA 17105-8157

    OR

    By Fax

    (717) 720-3786

Please note that the application for each new academic year is typically available in April.

Can I Renew?

Yes. If you were eligible in a prior year, you must:

  1. Download and complete the BDBG Application. (PDF)
    NOTE: An applicant who has been eligible in a previous year does not need to submit new OVR or medical documentation.
  2. File the FAFSA for the academic year for which the BDBG funds are being requested.
  3. Submit your completed 2021-22 application by March 31, 2022.

    By Mail

    PHEAA
    PA State Grant and Special Programs
    P.O. Box 8157
    Harrisburg, PA 17105-8157

    OR

    By Fax

    (717) 720-3786

Please note that the application for each new academic year is typically available in April.