You Can Save Money on Pennsylvania Tuition: Pennsylvania Financial Aid
Updated: May 21
Get Pennsylvania In-State Tuition
One of the more affordable ways to get a bachelor’s degree typically is to attend an in-State public school. Here is a website with information about how to qualify as a Pennsylvania resident: https://www.passhe.edu/inside/legal/Pages/Student-Residency.aspx. Generally speaking, people must live in Pennsylvania for at least 12 months, for a purpose other than to attend college, and they must be financially independent. Decisions about in-State residency are made at the institution level in Pennsylvania.
While in-State tuition for a public institution is not financial aid, it is subsidized. The cost of attending an in-State public institution should be compared against the cost of other institutions after financial aid awards are offered. Families often do not pay the sticker price.
Pennsylvania Need-Based Grants
The PA State Grant Program provides need-based financial aid. Information about the program can be found at: https://www.pheaa.org/grants/state-grant-program/state-grant-faq.shtml#determineAward.
Students must complete both (1) the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA ® and (2) the PA State Grant Form (SGF) to apply for a grant under this program. Applications are due by May 1. Eligible students need to be Pennsylvania residents, but they do not need to attend a university in Pennsylvania. If enrolled at an institution not in Pennsylvania, at least 50 percent of an eligible student's education must be classroom-based. The maximum size of an award may be as large as $800 a year.
Other Pennsylvania Grants and Scholarships
Other Pennsylvania programs are more narrowly targeted to certain groups of students, which are included on this website: https://www.pheaa.org/funding-opportunities/other-educational-aid/. These programs assist students with disabilities, students with ties to the foster system, children of deceased first responders, and students who demonstrate a high level of merit in addition to financial need.
Pennsylvania Student Loans
While student loans are not exactly financial aid, Pennsylvania offers PA Forward Student Loans at interest rates that may be preferable to Federal PLUS loans. Federal subsidized loans are preferable to PA Forward Student Loans and should be used first. PA Forward Student Loans may be used for either undergraduate or graduate school. For more information about undergraduate loans, see: https://www.pheaa.org/student-loans/pa-forward/undergraduate.shtml. Pennsylvania residents may use these loans for approved schools that are either in- or out-of-State. In addition, out-of-State students from Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia may use these loans for approved schools in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Merit-Based Financial Aid
Pennsylvania does not have the large merit-based financial aid programs one finds in Georgia (Hope Scholarships) or Florida (Bright Futures). However, Pennsylvania’s Ready To Succeed Scholarship (RTSS) Program provides upperclassmen with up to $2,500 towards the cost of attendance. To be eligible, students must be nominated by their postsecondary institution, have at least a 3.25 GPA, and demonstrate financial need. The awards are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and meet the eligibility requirements for the need-based PA State Grant program described above. For more information, see: https://www.pheaa.org/funding-opportunities/other-educational-aid/rtss/.
In addition, individual institutions distribute merit-based aid. Typically, the application for admission to the institution functions as the application for the scholarship. In addition, less selective institutions are generally more likely to provide merit-based financial aid than highly selective institutions.
For more information about financial aid in general, please visit our website at Paying for College | Educ8Fit Consulting. For blog posts that summarize State-based financial aid programs in other States, please see: https://www.educ8fit.com/blog-1/categories/state-based-student-financial-aid. Please contact us at Educ8Fit Consulting at either Jim@Educ8Fit.com or College Admission Counseling | Educ8fit Consulting | United States, contact for a free 30-minute consultation.
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