Education Grants in Pennsylvania
Scholarships for college in Pennsylvania differ from educational grants in some important ways. Pennsylvania grants for college are typically based on financial need alone, while scholarships generally include some measure of merit in their eligibility assessments. College grants and scholarships in Pennsylvania are both awarded without expectation of repayment, except in circumstances such as fraud or failure to complete the term of enrollment funded by the award. Although college grants and scholarships are similar, it is helpful to explore them in detail so that you can properly understand your options. The sections below will focus mostly on college grants.
Before You Apply for College Grants in Pennsylvania
Before you can apply for college scholarships and grants, you must submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the academic year for which you wish to receive funding. Nearly all Pennsylvania college funds available from federal or state level sources require that you have a current FAFSA on file in order to be eligible for an award. Some grants, as well as scholarships for college students in Pennsylvania, are automatically made available to you as part of your financial aid award package from the Federal Student Aid Office when it has finished processing your FAFSA.
Pennsylvania Federal Grants for College Students
Among Pennsylvania federal grants for college, Pell Grants are the most common. To be eligible for a Pell Grant for college, you must be a student in an undergraduate program who has not yet completed a bachelor's degree (or equivalent certification), or enrolled in select qualifying baccalaureate programs. Individuals who are incarcerated are ineligible to receive Pell Grants, and students who do not remain enrolled may have their eligibility revoked.
College funds available through Pell Grant awards are based on applicant/family income, the institution attended and whether a student is enrolled in school full- or part-time. Generally, lower-income students receive higher awards. Pell Grant college funding awards are capped at a maximum amount each year and applicants may receive Pell Grant funding for only one college at any given time. Awards are not impacted by any other financial aid a student may receive, but there is a limit to the number of semesters for which a student can be awarded Pell Grant funds.
Rather unique among Pennsylvania federal grants is the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, available to students who are pursuing a teaching degree in a high-need field and willing to commit to teaching in a school or agency that serves low-income populations for at least four years after graduation. Qualifying students who apply for college grants in Pennsylvania through the TEACH program can receive a maximum of $4,000 annually. Failure to abide by the terms of the grant contract will result in students being required to repay whatever funds they received. To apply for this federal grant in PA, students must complete their annual FAFSA and then speak to the financial aid office at the institution they are attending. To learn more about federal grants in PA, you can download our complimentary guide.
PA College Funds for Veterans
Some college grants in PA are available specifically to military veterans and their families, such as the Iraq/ Afghanistan Service Grant. Students who are eligible for this grant must have had a parent who was killed in U.S. military service in the Iraq/Afghanistan theaters after 9/11 and meet certain age and enrollment criteria, among meeting other requirements. To apply for Pennsylvania college funds under this grant, begin by completing your FAFSA. The maximum Iraq/Afghanistan Service Grant award is subject to the same cut-off figure applied to Pell Grants for the academic year to which the grant applies. Like Pell Grants, college and university funding awards under this grant can be disbursed directly to the institution or to the student and may be used to pay for tuition and other academic expenses.
Grants for college in Pennsylvania are also available to veterans and their family members through a variety of other programs authorized and administered by the Department of Veteran's Affairs. These educational grants for college students include the GI Bill, National Call to Service Incentive Program, the National Testing Program, The Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) Program, the Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) and the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP). Students interested in pursuing these PA college funds can contact the VA for clarification of the eligibility qualifications, award caps and enrollment deadlines, which vary from program to program.
Pennsylvania College Opportunity Grant
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is a Pennsylvania state university grants option open only to students experiencing qualifying financial hardship. The first step for interested students is to consult their academic institution, as not all colleges take part in the program. The second step to pursuing Pennsylvania college funds under FSEOG is to understand how to complete your FAFSA, which will determine your eligibility. Awards range from $100 to $4,000 annually, and award money can be used for tuition and other direct academic expenses.
Scholarships for College Students in Pennsylvania
Many students who qualify for educational grants in Pennsylvania will also be eligible for scholarship funds. You can find more information on scholarships for college in Pennsylvania when you download our comprehensive guide.