Pennsylvania’s state grant program is getting a shot in the arm from the agency that administers it. The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency has approved a $50 million public service contribution to the program. Along with the expected state appropriation, that’s raising the anticipated maximum state grant from $3,541 to $4,309 for the 2011-12 academic year. The supplement is funded entirely through the agency’s business earnings.
PHEAA spokesman Keith New says the agency has been doing a series of restructuring and cost-cutting initiatives, they’ve developed new business and they’ve been able to secure their financial position sufficiently to be able to provide the additional funding. Pennsylvania is now one of four official federal student loan servicers, enabling the agency to grow its business.
Representative William Adolph, PHEAA Board Chairman, says the agency has worked diligently to cut costs and boost productivity to ensure that its best able to serve the needs of Pennsylvania students and families struggling to afford higher education.
In addition to the supplemental funding for state grants, PHEAA has extended the deadline for community college students to file the annual State Grant application from May 1 to August 1 for non-renewal students. The extension is expected to provide awards to approximately 15,000 additional students.
The Governor’s proposed State Grant appropriation is $380.9 million. Once the Commonwealth budget is passed, final awards will be recalculated for all students.
PHEAA expects to award grants to 192,000 students for the next academic year.