Pennsylvania State Grant

The Pennsylvania State Grant is paid in part or in whole by the Commonwealth and is administered by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) to undergraduate Pennsylvania residents who demonstrate high financial need.

The Pennsylvania State Grant does not need to be accepted. If the grant is listed as "offered" on your LionPATH Award Summary, it will be applied to your student account once the grant has been funded by PHEAA.

What is the Pennsylvania State Grant?

The Pennsylvania State Grant is paid in part or in whole by the Commonwealth and is administered by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) to undergraduate Pennsylvania residents who demonstrate high financial need.

The Pennsylvania State Grant is available for a maximum of eight semesters to students enrolled in four-year programs and a maximum of four semesters to students enrolled in two-year programs.

PHEAA FAQ's (You will be directed to PHEAA's site)

How to Apply

Submit the FAFSA, which contains a direct link to the state grant form, by May 1. If you have already submitted your FAFSA without completing the form, you can do so on the PHEAA website.

Basic Eligibility

The basic eligibility requirements reviewed by PHEAA when it receives an application are:

  • Meets criteria for financial need
  • Enrolled on at least a half-time basis in an Associate degree or Bachelor’s Degree program and does not already have a Bachelor's degree
  • U.S. high school graduate or the recipient of a G.E.D.
  • Pennsylvania resident (domiciliary)
  • Met the application deadline by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by May 1st of the academic year the student is attending

PA State grant award notices from PHEAA should be considered estimates. Even after a student has received a State grant award notice, PHEAA requires a college to conduct additional eligibility checks. PHEAA will send Penn State University an official list of all students awarded State grants at the beginning of each semester (including summer). Your State grant will appear on your financial aid award as "estimated" until your eligibility is confirmed. The following are some of the eligibility checks that will be made by the Penn State Office of Student Aid staff prior to any State grant funds being disbursed to your account.

Additional School Certification Eligibility Requirements

Enrollment Status

PHEAA considers full-time status as at least 12 credits in a semester and half-time status as at least 6 credits in a semester. Enrollment status can also be impacted by individual courses. PA State Grants will not disburse to a students Bursar account until all courses have started, to include part semester courses that may begin later in the semester.

Summer State Grant Eligibility

In addition to all other eligibility criteria, students at Penn State University must be registered in at least 6 credits and attend at least 5 weeks of instruction during the summer to be considered for a Summer State grant.

Remedial Exception

If a student is taking remedial (developmental) credits, the student must take at least half of the required credits as non-remedial (at least 3 for half time, at least 6 for full time). A student is only eligible to receive this type of combined credit payment (remedial exception) for 2 full-time or 4 part-time semesters. After a student has received the maximum number of remedial exceptions, only regular degree credits can be used when determining enrollment status for additional State grants.

Academic Progress

To be considered for a State grant a student must meet PHEAA's academic progress requirement. This requirement applies to students who received a State grant in a prior academic year. If a student received a State grant at a different college, an academic transcript from that college is required to confirm that academic progress was met. For the most recent year a State grant was received, a student must successfully complete at least 12 credits for each full-time grant and/or 6 credits for each part-time grant. For example, if a student received two full-time State grants in the prior year (Fall and Spring semesters), PHEAA requires the student to have successfully completed at least 24 credits in order to be eligible for a State grant in the current year.

Change In Enrollment Status

A change in enrollment status can affect a student's eligibility for a State grant. The following are some examples of enrollment changes that may result in an adjustment to a student's State grant during a semester:

  • Drop from full-time to half-time
  • Drop from half-time to less than half-time
  • Withdrawal
  • Switching from a regular degree course to one that is remedial

Maximum Number Of Awards

A student is eligible for 4 years (8 full-time or 16 part-time semesters) of State grant aid in their lifetime. PHEAA only allows students to receive 2 years of State grants in a two-year academic program. Therefore, students attending Penn State University are limited to 4 full-time or 8 part-time semesters of State grant eligibility for most Associate degree programs.

Summer Application

If you wish to apply for the summer PA State grant you must complete the Summer PA State Grant application available on the PHEAA website by August 15th.

Eligibility Review

The Office of Student Aid is responsible for reviewing all preliminarily eligible Summer PA State Grant recipients to ensure they meet all of the summer PA State Grant Agency basic requirements (enrolled at least half-time, academic progress review, repeated coursework review, and 5 week enrollment requirement review). Therefore, it is possible the PA State Grant Agency will preliminarily approve a student's summer PA State Grant application prior to the school's PA State Grant requirement check.


Summer PA State grants will be credited to eligible student accounts at the end of July, so all students must plan accordingly to satisfy their charges and to avoid late fees. Short-term loans will not be given.

Eligible students only receive 8 total semesters of Pennsylvania State Grant throughout their academic career. Using the grant during the summer semester can take away potential fall or spring eligibility later.

Apply for the Summer PA State grant

PA State Grant for Graduating Seniors

If you are graduating or are in your next-to-last semester, enrolled for 9 to 11 credits, and receiving the PA State Grant, you may be eligible for a full-time grant (you must have remaining grant eligibility).

This is an exception intended to permit continued eligibility to students who normally enroll full-time, but only need to complete 9 to 11 credits during one of the terms of their final year of study. This exception is not applicable to part-time students.

If you would like to be considered for this PA State Grant exception, please complete the form for the appropriate semester:

PA State Grant 9-11 Form (Fall/Spring)

PA State Grant 9-11 Form (Summer)