A grant is free money, given to a student based on financial need. This money does not have to be repaid, as long as you meet all of the eligibility requirements. Award timeline for grants
Federal Pell Grant
The maximum 2017-18 annual award is $5,920, or $2,960 a semester, for full-time enrollment. The maximum 2018-19 annual award should soon be announced.
Many Penn College students receive Pell Grants to help cover college expenses.
To be eligible, you must:
- be enrolled as a degree- or certificate-seeking student in any of our majors,
- have not completed the requirements for a baccalaureate or graduate degree,
- not be in default of a federal loan,
- not have reached the lifetime eligibility limit and
- maintain satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of your degree or certificate.
There is no separate application to complete other than the FAFSA. You might also have to complete Federal Verification. Beginning in late winter, we will inform all students with a completed FAFSA if they are eligible or not for a Pell Grant for the upcoming academic year. Eligible students will see their award amount (based on full-time enrollment) on the Financial Aid Award Summary page in the Financial Information section of the Student Information System (SIS).
Pell grants are prorated for part-time students, based on the number of credits. Proration is as follows:
- Full-time (12 or more credits) = Full semester award
- 3/4-time (9-11.9 credits) = 3/4 of full semester award
- Half-time (6-8.9 credits) = 1/2 of full semester award*
- 1/4-time (fewer than 6 credits) = 1/4 of full semester award*
*Students with annual Pell awards less than $2,370 may not be eligible for part-time awards, especially if enrolled less than half-time.
Pell awards are adjusted, if needed, based on your enrollment status (full-time, etc.) at the end of drop-add period.
For example, Chris begins a semester with 13 credits and a full-time Pell Grant award of $2,000. If Chris drops a 3-credit class in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd week of the semester, his enrollment status changes to 3/4-time (10 credits) and his Pell Grant award is reduced to $1,500. The College will also reduce the cost of the course by 70%. If Chris withdraws from the course after the 3rd week, there will be no reduction in his Pell Grant.
Summer Pells – Students taking summer classes will be awarded Pell as long as they meet all eligibility requirements However, any refund directly the result of your summer Pell Grant (or any other grant) will usually not be available until July.
Year-round Pell - New for the 2017-18 award year, Pell-eligible students attending year-round can be awarded up to 3 full-time semesters of Pell Grants per award year, including summer. Previously, year-round students could only receive the equivalent of 2 full-time semesters of Pell per award year. Students who are full-time for the first 2 semesters when awarded a Pell Grant must be enrolled at least half-time (that's 6 or more credits) for the 3rd semester.
Some examples, to help you understand:
Jasmine has a $5,000 annual Pell Grant. She is enrolled full-time all 3 semesters. She is awarded $2,500 in Pell funds each semester for Summer, Fall and Spring Semesters, which effectively increases her annual award to $7,500.
Shawn has a $5,000 annual Pell Grant. He is enrolled in 7 credits (half-time) in the Summer Semester, and is awarded $1,250 in Pell funds. If he is full-time (12 or more credits) for both Fall and Spring semesters, he will receive $2,500 for both semesters, which takes his annual award to $6,250.
Lucinda also has a $5,000 annual Pell Grant. She is a half-time student for all 3 semesters, and is awarded $1,250 each semester. Because she does not use all of her annual Pell Grant award, she is not impacted by the year-round Pell policy.
Your eBill may show a different Pell Grant amount than that shown on SIS. Possible reasons include: a) you are enrolled as a part-time student and the amount initially awarded was based on full-time enrollment; b) your Pell Grant has a status of 'Hold,' signifying that there is no Pell credit on your eBill; and c) we may have previously adjusted your semester award for part-time enrollment, and you have subsequently changed your number of credits.
Credit Balances – Students with a ‘Pending Credit Balance’ on their eBill resulting from Pell (or any other aid) can use that credit balance to purchase required textbooks and supplies during at least the first seven (7) days of a semester by presenting their Penn College ID card at the College Store.
Lifetime Limit Pell Grants may be awarded for no more than twelve (12) full-time semesters (or the equivalent for part-time students) over a student's lifetime. The U.S. Department of Education will notify you (via your FAFSA Student Aid Report) when you are close to or have reached your lifetime limit. You will also be notified by Penn College though, in some cases, we are notified after we have already awarded the Pell for the award year, prompting us to reduce or remove Pell Grant awards and possibly resulting in a balance due on your current or next eBill. Learn how the Federal Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) is calculated.
If you do not expect to graduate before you reach your lifetime Pell Grant limit and you prefer to 'decline' a semester of Pell in order to conserve some of your eligibility for a future award year, you can submit a written statement to the Financial Aid Office telling us so with your full name, Penn College Student ID#, phone number and email address. If it is a paper statement, you must sign it in ink. The statement can also be sent from your Penn College email account.
Learn more about the Federal Pell Grant Program from the U.S. Department of Education.
Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) Grant
Many Penn College students receive PHEAA Grants. The maximum Fall 2017 Semester award is $1,975 and the maximum Spring 2018 Semester award is $1,797. PHEAA will announce 2018-2019 awards in May 2018.
To be eligible, you must meet specific requirements, including: a) be a Pennsylvania resident, b) be enrolled in a major which is at least two full years and 60 credits in length, c) take at least six credits per semester, and d) meet other eligibility requirements including satisfactory academic progress (as defined by PHEAA).
To apply, first submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the year you are planning to attend Penn College. Your FAFSA information will be electronically transmitted to PHEAA. New students (and their parents) should complete their PHEAA State Grant Form starting with a link they find from their FAFSA Submission Confirmation page. Returning students may receive emails from PHEAA, requesting information; these should be answered quickly and thoroughly.
If you received a PHEAA grant last year, you do need to reapply for the next academic year. Submit next academic year's FAFSA before May 1. Note that Penn College's Priority FAFSA Submission Deadline is March 1.
If your college and/or housing information changes, you must update that information on PHEAA's records. It's easy!
- Sign into Account Access from AES
- Click 'View the Status on my PA State Grant' from the menu on the left side of the screen.
- Select the correct academic year (if more than one year is listed) and click 'View Details'.
- Select 'Update School Information.'
- Make needed changes to your college of attendance (and housing status) on the 'Change of School Information Form;' click 'Submit' to complete your update.
Note: There is no winter term at Penn College.
Interested in a summer PHEAA Grant? Beginning in March, you can complete your Pennsylvania Summer State Grant Application from PHEAA's Account Access website.
- Your summer courses must extend for a total of eight or more calendar weeks.
- Full-time PHEAA grant assistance covers a maximum of four semesters for associate-degree students or eight semesters for bachelor-degree students. If, for example, you have only two full-time semesters of eligibility remaining, using a summer PHEAA grant will mean you have only one full-time semester remaining after summer.
- PHEAA does not determine awards until May or June, which may be too late to help cover your Penn College eBill for summer classes.
Certificate programs may be covered by a PHEAA grant, but it depends on the program. PHEAA's policy states that an eligible program require a minimum of 60 credits and be at least two years (or four semesters) in length. Therefore, only the following certificate programs are eligible for PHEAA grants:
- Diesel Technician (DC)
- Automotive Service Technician (AM)
- Aviation Maintenance Technician (AC)
- Collision Repair Technician (CL)
If I take distance education classes, am I eligible for PHEAA?
Yes, if you are not in a distance education program and you are enrolled in no more than 50% online or distance credits.
Pennsylvania State Grant Program Handbook, 2017-18 Academic Year and 2018 Summer, Chapter 2-A-b-1 does allow exceptions for students with documented medical disabilities that prevent them from taking classroom courses, provided they are not enrolled in a distance education program.
Developmental courses may cause a decrease or removal of PHEAA aid. PHEAA requires students' schedules to consist of at least 50% regular (non-developmental) credits.
PHEAA also limits the number of semesters that developmental credits can be considered as part of enrollment status for grant eligibility. PHEAA refers to these semesters as 'remedial exceptions,' and limits the number to two full-time semesters or four part-time semesters. If, for example, you previously used two remedial exceptions, and are enrolled as a full-time student but have fewer than 12 regular credits, you will only receive a part-time PHEAA grant.
Pennsylvania Ready to Succeed Scholarship (RTSS)
RTSS annual awards for 2017-18 range from $500 to $2,000.
There is no separate RTSS application. Students must complete a current year FAFSA and PHEAA State Grant Form. PHEAA administers this program and makes award determinations.
Eligibility requirements for 2017-18 are similar to that of PHEAA grants, with a few significant exceptions:
- RTSS is not for first-year students; you must have earned at least 24 college credits;
- Your college grade-point average (GPA) must be 3.25 or higher; and
- Your family income must not exceed $110,000.
Learn more about RTSS from PHEAA.
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program helps low-income students pay their educational costs. Funds from the U.S. Department of Education are allocated to the College and then awards are made to eligible students by the Financial Aid Office. Funding 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.
The Financial Aid Office uses this priority for awarding FSEOG to students:
- Receipt of a Federal Pell Grant during the same award year
- Exceptional financial need, as determined by the EFC on their FAFSA
- High number of college credits per semester
Students must maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress and meet all other eligibility criteria for federal financial aid. Other variables that we may consider, based on the available funds, include:
- other gift aid awarded, such as tuition waivers, scholarships, etc.
- the number of prior semesters that a student was awarded FSEOG
- cumulative GPA and most recent semester GPA
EFC means Expected Family Contribution in dollars.
You and (if you're a dependent student) your parents are expected to pay a certain amount of your cost of education. The EFC is calculated by the U.S. Department of Education. It is based on the amount of taxed income, untaxed income, and assets you and your parents have; your family size; and the number of college students in your family. The EFC is used to consider eligibility for certain types of financial aid, but it does not mean that grants will make up any difference between your cost of education and your EFC. Sometimes, families can not afford the EFC. In those cases, educational loans can be helpful in meeting college costs.
State Grants for Out-of-State Students
Not all states 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.