Student Financial Aid in Pennsylvania

Financial aid in Pennsylvania comes in a complex array of forms, each with its own rules, application cycle, eligibility standards and conditions. To determine which financial aid opportunities are the best fit for your needs, you must first understand the types of PA financial aid assistance programs available to you and what is required to access them. In the following sections, you will find the student financial aid information you need to make informed decisions about funding your higher education degree.

Nearly all financial aid in PA begins with the applicant filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A student's FAFSA is the foundational document on which the majority of his or her financial aid package will be based. In addition to determining federal financial aid opportunities, FAFSA results also determine most forms of state aid and some forms of institutional aid eligibility. To remain eligible for most financial assistance programs at all levels, and to maintain certain scholarships that he or she has been awarded, a student must submit a new FAFSA every academic year.

In addition to the federal financial aid assistance opportunities available as a result of the FAFSA, students can apply for a variety of educational grants, loans and scholarships to further support their educational pursuits. As you will see in the following sections, each of these types of financial aid in Pennsylvania is available to different populations, in varying amounts and under distinct conditions. Financial aid assistance programs classified as grants or scholarships are typically awarded with no expectation of repayment, as long as the awardee maintains this or her eligibility and completes the funded program of study. However, some of these awards will carry specific post-graduatory requirements, such as a period of national service or employment in an organization or operation that primarily addresses the needs of underserved populations. Student loans, another important form of PA financial aid, provide an alternative source of educational funding, one that must be repaid with interest.

Keep reading for valuable student financial aid information on the crucial differences between the primary types of loans available to students, which ones you can expect to qualify for and how to select the ones most appropriate for your needs. Many students ultimately utilize a combination of the financial aid forms that are covered in the pages below.

Pennsylvania FAFSA Applications

Submitting the Pennsylvania FAFSA application, which is also known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a student's first step toward accessing any available financial aid for college or trade school. Before you explore how to submit FAFSA application materials, it is important understand exactly what the FAFSA is and why it is important to complete it accurately. The FAFSA is an application for federal student aid, but it has many other purposes. The application a multi-purpose tool used by states, colleges and trade schools to make decisions about students' eligibility for all types of financial aid, including direct assistance through grants and other supports, such as loans or work-study opportunities. Read More

Scholarships for Education in Pennsylvania

College scholarships in Pennsylvania, like grants, are free funds that do not have to be repaid under most circumstances. Eligibility for scholarships in Pennsylvania may require students to meet various guidelines. Some may be merit-based or open only to students in certain programs of study. Other scholarships use other personal defining characteristics to determine applicant eligibility. Unlike grants, scholarships do not generally rely on financial need as the primary or sole determining eligibility factor. Scholarships come in many different forms, and they include federal, state and local scholarships. Read More

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. Read More

Education Loans in Pennsylvania

Free Pennsylvania education financial aid is available to students through grants and scholarships. Pennsylvania student loans provide an alternative or supplemental form of funding support for students who do not qualify for grants or scholarships or who find their free financial aid packages insufficient to fully fund their college enrollment expenses. Unlike grants and scholarships, which typically do not have to be repaid, student loans must be repaid and interest is charged on the borrowed funds. To find the best student loans in Pennsylvania for your needs, it is important to understand the types of loans available and how they differ from one another. Read More

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What Kind of Employment Development Services Are Available in Pennsylvania?

If you are currently unemployed and need help finding a job, the state of Pennsylvania offers unemployment benefits to eligible applicants, in order to help them get by while pursuing work. In addition to financial assistance, the Employment Development Division of Pennsylvania also offers training benefits, which allow unemployed individuals to learn new skills and get a higher education so that they can earn a better living. Find out more about these employment services by downloading our guide.


What Education Assistance Is Available in Pennsylvania?

Just as unemployed individuals can benefit from services offered by the state, so too can college students. Pennsylvania students can qualify for financial aid from the government, such as loans and grants, which can help them cover the costs of higher education. Find out how you can get financial assistance for your schooling by downloading our guide.