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. Grants are considered “gift aid”, meaning they don't need to be re-paid. You do not need to accept the grant in LionPATH. The grant will disburse once the funds are sent to Penn State from PHEAA.
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.
How to Apply
For 2023/2024: The FAFSA, which contains a direct link to the state grant form, should be submitted by May 1, 2023. If you have already submitted your FAFSA without completing the grant form, you can do so on the PHEAA website.
For 2024/2025: Submit the 2024/25 FAFSA by May 1, 2024. Federal Student Aid (FSA) will transmit your FAFSA data to PHEAA's new GrantUs system in mid-March. Allow 5-10 business days for standard processing from the date you submit your FAFSA.
- PHEAA will notify you via email when they receive your student data from the FAFSA. Once PHEAA has your 2024/25 FAFSA information, their new GrantUs system will automatically create your student profile.
- PA Students that completed a FAFSA will receive an email from PHEAA, to the email address you provided on the FAFSA, with instructions to create your password and set up your GrantUs account. All students will need to create a GrantUs account. If you have not completed the 2024/25 FAFSA or created a GrantUs account, you will NOT be able to apply for the PA State Grant.
- Once you create a GrantUs account, you will be able to complete the PA State Grant application process. Per PHEAA, typically only first-time applicants need to complete the PA State Grant application.
- 2024/25 award updates (and future years awarding) will be communicated through your GrantUs account. If PHEAA requires more information to assess your eligibility, they will send another email to you asking you to log into GrantUs and review their request.
- If you need to make changes to your 2024/25 FAFSA, when available, log into StudentAid.gov to make the corrections. PHEAA will receive your updated FAFSA information from FSA in another data transfer.
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 15, 2024. The PA State Grant Summer application will be available mid-March at PHEAA.org.
Additional items for Summer:
- 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.
- Because 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.
- 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.
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 1 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
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.
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.
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
- Switching from a regular degree course to one that is remedial
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.
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: