Supplement your funding with grant aid to lessen any amounts you need to repay.
Grants are often called “gift aid” because they are free money—a type of financial aid that does not have to be repaid. Grants are often need-based, which signifies they are based on your family’s finances. “Need” is often derived from the information you submit on your FAFSA each year.
Because grants do not need to be repaid, we will automatically accept federal and/or state funded grants on your behalf. By completing your FAFSA, you will automatically be considered for the grants listed below. We encourage all students to apply for other grants for which you think you may be eligible. Do your research and be sure to meet application deadlines!
Occasionally you might have to pay back part or all of a federal or student grant if, for example, you withdraw from school before finishing an enrollment period such as a semester. If you are thinking of dropping a class or withdrawing from the College, contact Student Financial Services to discuss your options.
Federal Pell Grant
A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Federal Pell Grants usually are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s or a professional degree. The amount of any other student aid for which you might qualify does not affect the amount of your Federal Pell Grant.
- Amounts can change yearly. The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $6,345 for the 2020–21 award year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The amount a student receives depends on financial need, cost of attendance, and enrollment status per semester.
- A student can receive the Federal Pell Grant for no more than 12 semesters or the equivalent. Students will receive a notice if you’re getting close to your limit.
- Generally, a student is only eligible to receive the grant while pursuing their first bachelor’s degree.
- You are not eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant if you are incarcerated.
- You may not receive Federal Pell Grant funds from more than one school at a time.
Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs) are awarded to undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Priority is given to students receiving Federal Pell Grants.
- The FSEOG does not need to be repaid.
- A student is only eligible to receive the grant while pursuing their first bachelor’s degree.
- FSEOG is awarded to students with exceptional financial need.
- PA College receives a certain amount of FSEOG funds each year from the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid. Once the full amount of the school’s FSEOG funds has been awarded to students, no more FSEOG awards can be made for that year. In other words, FSEOG funds are first come, first served. This system works differently from the Federal Pell Grant Program, which provides funds to every eligible student.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
If your parent or guardian was a member of the U.S. armed forces and died as a result of military service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11, you may be eligible for additional Federal Pell Grant funds if, at the time of your parent’s or guardian’s death, you were less than 24 years of age or enrolled in college or career school at least part-time. If you meet these requirements and are eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant, your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be changed to zero, which maximizes your Federal Pell Grant amount and can increase your eligibility for all federal student aid programs. Payments are adjusted if you are enrolled less than full-time. If you meet those requirements but aren’t eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant due to your EFC being too high, you might be able to get an Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant.
Pennsylvania State Grant
Detailed information regarding student award eligibility can be reviewed by visiting the PHEAA grant program manual.
Basic Eligibility Criteria
- Full-time (at least 12 credits) and half-time (at least 6 credits) Pennsylvania State Grants are awarded to undergraduate Commonwealth residents pursuing their first bachelor’s degree in an approved program of study of at least two academic years in length through the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).
- All Pennsylvania residents must apply for a state grant by filing the FAFSA by May 1 each year.
- Students may receive a maximum of 8 full-time semester grants (or its equivalent).
- Students must maintain PA State Grant satisfactory academic progress which is different from Federal Title IV financial aid satisfactory academic progress. PA State Grant progress is reviewed annually before the fall semester, and is defined as successfully completing a minimum of 12 new credits for each full-time semester of PA State Grant received (6 new credits for each half-time semester grant received) during the preceding academic year.
- After students are determined by PHEAA to be eligible for a State Grant based on need, Student Financial Services determines if you are maintaining satisfactory academic progress. PA College may then need to cancel your grant, even after the initial award is made by PHEAA, if you are not making satisfactory academic progress. If you believe that you have grounds to request an exception to this policy please complete and submit an Academic Progress Exception Form, www.pheaa.org.
NOTE: Grades of “W” are NOT counted as credits completed for State Grant academic progress. For example, students who takes 12 credits in one semester and withdraw from a class with a grade of “W” (and pass the remaining 9 credits for the semester), will be considered to have completed a maximum of 9 credits, You are, therefore, considered NOT to be making academic progress for purposes of receiving PA’s State Grant.