Program Overview

PHEAA administers the funding to support qualifying interns completing Educational Specialist Preparation Program requirements at a Pennsylvania postsecondary institution. The funds are awarded and disbursed to the LEA where the intern completes their internship.


To be considered for PA HELPS, you must:

  • Be a current resident of Pennsylvania.
  • Be enrolled in an Educational Specialist Preparation Program approved by the PA Department of Education that leads to educator certification as a:
    • School nurse
    • School psychologist
    • School counselor
    • School social worker
  • Be accepted to an internship at an LEA located in Pennsylvania that is approved for participation in PA HELPS.
    • To be approved for PA HELPS, qualifying programs must be in a school district, intermediate unit, area career and technical school, charter school, regional charter school, or cyber charter school.
    • The program must also employ a site supervisor who holds a certification in the same field that you are pursuing in your internship.
  • Agree to work at an LEA located in Pennsylvania as a school nurse, school psychologist, school counselor, or school social worker for a minimum of 3 years following completion of the respective Educational Specialist Preparation Program.

How to Apply

Your LEA must certify their eligibility and apply on your behalf.

What to Expect
  1. The LEA submits an award year application or renewal to PHEAA.
  2. After we process the LEA application, we give the LEA an Intern Application.
  3. The LEA sends us their Intern Applications, along with the agreement for internship between the LEA and postsecondary institution, for any interns they have hired.
  4. If this is the first time an LEA has participated, they need to complete a Participation Agreement and ACH Authorization Agreement.
  5. We disburse funds to approved LEAs.

LEAs must use 100% of the funds received for compensating the intern (which may include legally required payroll deductions).