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 2016-17 annual award is $5,815, or $2,908 a semester. For 2017-18, the maximum annual award is $5,920, or $2,960 a semester.
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 March or April, 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 AWARD/SEMESTER
- 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 $2,325 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 Pell Grant (or any other grant) will usually not be available until July. Furthermore, if you take classes during the summer, and also attend during both fall and spring semesters, your spring Pell Grant will be reduced or eliminated, depending on your enrollment status (the number of credits you take).
Some examples, to help you understand:
Shawn has a $2,000 annual Pell Grant. He is enrolled in 7 credits (half-time) in the Summer Semester, and is awarded $500 in Pell funds. That leaves $1,500 remaining. If he is full-time (12 or more credits) for both fall and spring semesters, he will receive $1,000 in the fall but only $500 for spring.
Melissa also has a $2,000 annual Pell Grant. She is enrolled full-time all 3 semesters. She is awarded $1,000 in Pell funds for both summer and Fall Semesters, which leaves 0 Pell funds remaining for spring.
Kyle also has a $2,000 annual Pell Grant. He is enrolled in 7 summer credits and is awarded $500 in Pell funds. That leaves $1,500 remaining. For fall and spring semesters, he takes 9 and 10 credits, respectively (three-quarters enrollment). For each of those latter semesters he is awarded $750, which means there is no decrease in his Pell award for spring.
If you have been awarded a Summer Semester 2017 Pell Grant from 2017-2018 funds and plan to be full-time for both the Fall and Spring Semesters and would rather have a full-time Pell award for Spring instead of a summer award, 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, please sign it in ink. The statement can also be sent from your Penn College email account.
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.
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 2016-17 award is $4,004. PHEAA will announce 'conditional' 2017-18 award amounts in May.
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 e-mails 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 Certification Procedures, 2015-16 Academic Year and 2016 Summer, Chapter 2-A-2 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 2015-16 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 2015-16 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 award from PHEAA.
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.
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.