Financial Aid Programs

Government Grants

A grant is free money, given to a student based on financial need. This money does not have to be repaid. Penn College students can receive money from these different grant programs:

  • Federal Pell Grant – Many Penn College students receive Pell Grants. To qualify, you must be enrolled as a degree or certificate-seeking student in any of our majors, and have not completed the requirements for a baccalaureate or graduate degree. The maximum annual award for 2015-16 is $5,775. Eligibility is primarily determined from a student's FAFSA information. Students in default of a federal loan or those who do not maintain federal Satisfactory Academic Progress are ineligible to receive any federal aid, including Pell Grants. Students enrolled in summer classes can receive a summer Pell Grant based on information from either the new (2015-16) FAFSA or depending on remaining eligibility, the previous year's (2014-15) FAFSA.

    Lifetime Eligibility Limit for Pell Grants: Effective with the 2012-13 award year, all Pell-eligible students are limited to a lifetime maximum of twelve (12) full-time semesters (or the equivalent for part-time students), regardless of when a student first received a Federal Pell Grant. The U.S. Department of Education informs us (via FAFSA records) and students (via the FAFSA's Student Aid Report) which students are close to or have reached their lifetime limit. We then notify students that may not be eligible for all of their current year Pell Grant awards. Note that in some cases, we are notified after we have already awarded Pell for the award year, which means we will need to reduce or remove Pell Grant awards. This could result in a balance due on your current or next eBill.
  • Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) Grant – Many Penn College students receive PHEAA grants. To qualify, you must be a Pennsylvania resident, be enrolled in a major which is at least two full years and 60 credits in length, take at least six credits per semester, and meet other eligibility requirements. The 2014-15 maximum annual award is $3,670. PHEAA will announce the 2015-16 maximum award in May.

    Students enrolled in programs that are more than 50% online or students taking more than 50% of their credits via distance education are ineligible for PHEAA Grants. Click here for more information on PHEAA's Distance Learning policy.
    Note: the calculation for the Distance Learning policy changed to a semester calculation as of summer 2013. More detail.

  • Pennsylvania Ready to Succeed Scholarship (RTSS) - New for the 2014-15 award year, this Pennsylvania government aid is administered by PHEAA. Eligibility requirements are similar to that of PHEAA Grants (referenced above) with a few significant exceptions:
    • Annual family income for RTSS can be as high as $110,000.
    • RTSS is not for first-year students; students must have earned at least 24 college credits.
    • College grade-point average (GPA) for RTSS must be 3.25 or higher.
    There is no separate RTSS application. Students must have completed a current year FAFSA and PHEAA State Grant Form. The minimum RTSS award is $500 per semester and PHEAA Grant recipients must not have a semester PHEAA Grant award higher than $1,500.

    RTSS funding is limited. The Penn College Financial Aid Office plans to nominate all potentially eligible students when the 'nomination' process begins in mid-November.

  • Federal SEOG– The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program helps low-income students pay for their educational costs. Funds are allocated to the College and then awards are made to eligible students by the Financial Aid Office. Funding under this federal program is limited and the guidelines for awards are established each year based on the amount of funds the College receives and the financial need of students.

    In determining the priority for awarding FSEOG funds, the College will first choose those students with exceptional financial need; those who have the lowest Expected Family Contribution (EFC). A student must also receive a Federal Pell Grant in that award year to be eligible for FSEOG.

    Any gift aid received by a student will be taken into consideration when awarding FSEOG. Other variables that may also be considered, based on the available dollars, include: enrollment status, Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress and the number of semesters that FSEOG has previously been awarded. Once awarded, a FSEOG award may be reduced or canceled if a student's credit load changes or s/he receives additional gift aid.
  • State Grants for Out-of-State Students – Not all states will provide state grants for students to attend out-of-state colleges. Below are links to state aid centers for states that may offer state grants to eligible students:
  • Other state higher education agencies can be found at this U.S. government source.

Grants are disbursed once a semester, typically after the fourth week of the semester. Note that once a student has earned a baccalaureate or higher degree, or has completed the academic requirements for such a degree, that student is no longer eligible for any government grants. For more information on grants, view Frequently Asked Questions about Grants.


Educational loans are available to students and parents who need to borrow money to help pay college expenses. More information is available on our Loans page.

Federal Work-Study

Federal work-study awards (based on need) are very limited and are available for students who wish to work while attending Penn College. Students are paid the College's approved minimum wage every two weeks for hours worked on-campus. The hours are arranged around your class schedule. Work-study supervisors understand that student workers have education as their priority. If you are interested in work-study and are eligible, we will inform you of the amount you may earn during the coming year. If you accept the award, we will follow up with additional information.

The College requires that your work-study wages are deposited directly into your checking or savings account. The convenience of direct deposit will ensure that your wages will be available for your use on payday.

For more information, view Frequently Asked Questions about Federal Work-study.

In addition to federal work-study employment, some students are employed on the College payroll and may participate in the State Work-Study Program.


Scholarships are provided by Penn College, the Penn College Foundation, and many private sponsors. Eligibility criteria vary. You should also check with your high school guidance office, your place of worship, your parents' employer(s), and any social or civic organizations to which you or your parents belong.

Do not pay to use a scholarship search organization! In most cases, these offers are not worth the money. We advise you to save your money and do the scholarship search yourself for free.

For more information, view Frequently Asked Questions about Scholarships.

Military Friendly School 2014

Veterans Benefits

Veterans education benefits are available to eligible students who either served in the military or are currently enlisted in the Reserves or the National Guard. Also, students who are dependents of a veteran with a service-connected death or 100% disability are eligible to apply.

Agency Sponsorship

Sponsorship is available to certain students based on pre-existing criteria, such as a physical or learning disability (OVR), displaced worker status (TRA/TAA), job training eligibility (WIA), or employment by a sponsoring company or organization. Pennsylvania OVR site.

Earn & Learn

The Earn & Learn Program is designed to assist students in securing off-campus employment regardless of their financial aid eligibility. It is also centered on creating real-world experiences for students that will not only increase self-knowledge, but also develop marketable skills that will provide a solid formation for securing career options beyond graduation.

Study Abroad

Students who are eligible for financial aid for classes in a Penn College degree or certificate may be eligible to use financial aid funds for study abroad courses. To receive Federal financial aid, students must be enrolled in an approved degree or certificate program, and courses must be applicable toward the degree or certificate program. Financial aid applications should be submitted well in advance of posted deadlines. If you are considering Study Abroad, contact the Financial Aid Office to learn more.

Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)

View ROTC information

PHEAA's Other Aid Programs

PHEAA offers other educational programs to eligible students. Awards are disbursed once a semester and sometimes do not occur until the second half of the semester, depending on the College's receipt of program funds.

Cost of Attendance and Adjustments of Financial Aid

Because scholarships, grants, and other types of financial aid are awarded at various times throughout the year, you may be awarded financial aid in excess of your Cost of Attendance. Cost of Attendance includes tuition and fees (which varies and is based on your credit load), living expenses such as meals and housing, transportation, books and supplies.

Adjustments to your financial aid can also be caused by misreported FAFSA information, miscalculated costs or EFC, payments to ineligible students, or payments in excess of grant or loan maximums. Your total student aid received can never exceed your cost of attendance. For this reason, it may be necessary to reduce or return the amount of aid previously awarded.

If you are having difficulty meeting your financial obligations or if you feel your particular educational expenses are unique, you can contact the Financial Aid Office to evaluate your expenses and determine if an adjustment to your Cost of Attendance (COA) can be made. You will have to provide us with copies of all bills and receipts for anything you would like us to review. Submitting this documentation does not guarantee a COA adjustment will be approved. Please note that the purchase costs of a vehicle (which include car loan payments) are specifically prohibited from being included in your COA.

While we make every effort to adjust excessive aid before it is disbursed to you, you may have to repay federal and/or College funds that exceed your cost of COA. If repayment is necessary, you will be sent detailed information about the changes required in your record.

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