- How do I get an RTSS award?
There are several requirements students must meet in order to qualify for participation in RTSS.
- Your school must participate in RTSS.
- You must meet all PA State Grant eligibility requirements—with the exception of financial need—with three additions:
- You must have a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher as of the time your school checks academic progress for the PA State Grant Program. This will be at the end of the Spring or Summer term of the previous award year.
- You must have completed at least one academic year (24 semester credits or their equivalent) by the time your school checks academic progress for the PA State Grant Program. This will be at the end of the Spring or Summer term of the previous award year.
- You must have a total annual family income that does not exceed $126,000 (this threshold is subject to change each year).
- You must complete a FAFSA® (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and PA State Grant Form (SGF). The funding for RTSS is limited and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, based upon the date that you complete these forms. This means that even if you qualify for RTSS, you are not guaranteed an award. There may be more qualified students than the program can fund.
- How do I apply for RTSS?
There is no separate student application for RTSS. Students will be nominated for award eligibility by approved, participating institutions. In order to be nominated, you must meet all RTSS eligibility criteria and have completed both a FAFSA and SGF. Participating schools will supply information regarding your GPA and academic level to PHEAA for an evaluation of your eligibility for RTSS. If any additional information is needed, you will be contacted by PHEAA.
- When will I know if I've been nominated?
RTSS nominations will begin in mid-September, and student eligibility will be announced in mid-to-late-Fall. Awarded students will receive notification via email or letter, depending upon the contact information provided on their FAFSA and SGF. Account Access will also display your award status once eligibility is announced.
- What can I do if it appears I was not nominated for an RTSS award?
If your school nominated you, your award, reject, or cancellation status will be available in Account Access in mid-to-late-Fall. If your award status is not available in Account Access after this time, you may contact PHEAA for additional information.
- If I receive a letter from PHEAA stating that a determination has been made regarding my RTSS eligibility and my online account displays an RTSS award amount, am I guaranteed to receive this money?
Notice of an RTSS award is not a guarantee of payment. After you receive notice of an RTSS award, PHEAA must then collect institutional information confirming your eligibility. This process is called "certification." RTSS awards must first be certified before disbursement to your institution can occur.
- If I am nominated and I receive a letter, when could I receive an award?
If your school has nominated you, your award status will be available in Account Access in mid-to-late-Fall. Awards will then be disbursed to eligible, certified students, beginning in mid-November for the award year.
- What can I do if I met the criteria for an RTSS award but did not receive an award?
If you feel you have met the criteria for an RTSS award but did not receive one, it may be because:
- Funds were depleted before an award could be offered to you
- You were not nominated for an award
- Your PA State Grant may have been too high to receive the minimum RTSS award
If you are ineligible due to limited funding, you are encouraged to submit your next FAFSA as early as possible to improve your chances for future funding.
- If I am awarded RTSS funds but then get a letter that states PHEAA must verify my family's income, what should I do? Do I have to respond?
You should respond to this request immediately. Responses must be received within 30 days to prevent your potential RTSS award eligibility from being cancelled. If you do not respond to this request, you will not be eligible to receive an RTSS award. If you respond to the request with the necessary information, PHEAA will review your case to determine if you meet the RTSS income requirement.
- Where can I find additional information about RTSS?
Questions may be directed to PHEAA by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-800-692-7392 (TTY: Dial 711 for hearing impaired).
For more information, you may also contact your school's Financial Aid Office. Please note that nominations for the RTSS Program will open to institutions in mid-September. This means that your school may not be able to provide additional information until that time.