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Pennsylvania Scholarships and Financial Aid

Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships

Pennsylvania has a rich history. Besides being home to the original Quaker colony, U.S. founding father Benjamin Franklin, colonial conflicts, American Revolution battles, and American Civil War battles, Pennsylvania is also home to many colleges and universities. To say the least, Pennsylvania seems like an ideal place to study U.S. history. But whether you are studying U.S. history or any other field in Pennsylvania — and whether you’re studying in bustling Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, or one of the cities and towns in between — you may be eligible to receive financial assistance from several sources.

Finding Pennsylvania Scholarships and Financial Aid

When you are looking for Pennsylvania scholarships and financial aid, the best places to look for them are:

  • U.S. Government – grants and low-interest loans
  • Pennsylvania state government – grants, scholarships, loans
  • Individual Pennsylvania universities and colleges – scholarships
  • Pennsylvania foundations, professional organizations, and corporations

Financial Aid from the U.S. Government for Pennsylvania Students

Many students receive financial assistance from the U.S. Government, but only students with financial need are eligible. To see if you qualify, submit a Free Application for Federal Financial Aid. The national deadline for FAFSA applications is usually June 30 the year you need the aid. It is available January 1 the year prior. States usually have their own FAFSA deadlines. Current students in Pennsylvania should submit their FAFSA applications by May 1. All other students in Pennsylvania should submit their FAFSA applications by August 1, midnight, Central Daylight Time. Students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

If you do qualify for federal financial aid, your school’s financial aid office will decide how much assistance you need and offer you a financial aid package, which may have grants and/or low-interest loans. For more information on federal grants, see the Guide to Federal Grants. If you’re interested in loans, you can find more information in the Guide to Student Loans.

Pennsylvania State Scholarships and Financial Aid

Pennsylvania offers several state programs to help its students. Here is a list of available programs:

Pennsylvania State Grant Program
This Pennsylvania financial aid program offers financial assistance to students with need. Only Pennsylvania residents are eligible. Students need to file a FAFSA and apply online. The deadline is May 1.

Children of Soldiers Declared POW/MIA Grant
Children of military personnel who were prisoners of war or were missing in action after January 31, 1955 may be eligible to receive this grant. File a FAFSA and submit a POW/MIA application. Call 1-800-692-7392 to request an application.

Pennsylvania National Guard Assistance Program
Pennsylvania resident students who are in the Pennsylvania National Guard and are enrolled full time at an accredited post-secondary institution are eligible to receive this tuition waiver. For more information call 1-800-GO GUARD.

New Economy Technology Scholarship
This Pennsylvania financial aid program provides assistance to students studying fields related to science and technology. Pennsylvania residents age 18 or older can apply online. First-time applicants to this program need to submit an application packet, which can be downloaded here. If you are a previous NETS recipient, all you need to do is submit the FAFSA — no application necessary.

Pennsylvania Chafee Education and Training Grant (ETG) Program
Foster children attending post-secondary institutions in Pennsylvania may be eligible for this grant. Students must start this program while they are 21 years of age and end it when they turn 23. File a FAFSA and download an application here.

Agriculture Education Loan Forgiveness Program
Agriculture students who work in qualified positions in Pennsylvania after receiving their degree may be eligible to receive up to $2,000 a year of loan forgiveness. Click here to learn more.

Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
This Pennsylvania financial aid program offers loan forgiveness to students who have their teaching credentials and are working in low-income or disadvantaged schools. Click here for application procedures.

Post-Secondary Educational Gratuity Program
This program was designed to assist the children of fallen Pennsylvania firefighters, police officers, National Guard members, emergency personnel, or corrections facility workers who perished on the job in or after 1976. In 2004, the program was expanded to include sheriffs and certain military personnel who perished while performing their duty on or after September 11, 2001. Recipients receive a waiver for tuition, room and board, and other fees. Applicants must be Pennsylvania residents attending accredited post-secondary institutions. To apply, download an application here or contact the program at 1-800-692-7392 or POSTSECONDARY EDUCATIONAL GRATUITY PROGRAM, PHEAA State Grant and Special Programs, P.O. Box 8114,
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8114.

Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program
This federally-funded Pennsylvania state scholarship offers assistance to high school students who rank in the top 5% of their graduating class. Students must be residents of Pennsylvania and must plan to attend a post-secondary institution. To apply, download the application here, talk to your counselor, or contact the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency at 1-800-692-7392.

University- and College-Supported Scholarships in Pennsylvania

Almost all Pennsylvania post-secondary institutions offer assistance to their students in the form of scholarships. Scholarships are usually given based on merit, need, major, leadership/involvement, special ability, or any combination of these. The number of scholarships available and the application process for these scholarships differ from institution to institution. Some universities and colleges require one general application, while others require separate applications. Check with your school’s financial aid or scholarship office to see what they require.

Scholarships From Pennsylvania Professional and Non-Profit Groups

Many Pennsylvania professional and non-profit groups offer scholarships to students in Pennsylvania. Here is a list of just some of the available scholarships out there:

First Community Foundation of Pennsylvania
Award: A large number of scholarships available.
Requirements: Vary depending on scholarships.
Deadline: Varies depending on scholarships.
Application: Click here to view scholarships and download applications.

Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers
Award: Eight scholarships in the amount of $1,000 or $2,000.
Requirements: Applicants must be engineering students. Click here for details on each scholarship.
Deadline: Usually in April.
Application: Click here to download applications.

Clarence Schock Foundation Scholarship Program
Award: An award of $6,600 in honor of Clarence Schock, a community member and philanthropist.
Requirements: These scholarships are for southeast Pennsylvania’s first-time freshmen attending Cheyney, Kutztown, Millersville, Shippensburg, or _West Chester universities only. Applicants must be residents of — and must have graduate high school in — Adams County, Berks County, Chester County, Cumberland County, Dauphin County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, Lebanon County, or York County.
Deadline: Check with your qualified university. Universities must submit all required forms by October 15.
Application: Contact your university.

Pennsylvania State Showmen’s Association Scholarship
Award: Four scholarships available
Requirements: Either the applicant or parents must be involved in the outdoor amusement industry. Students need to have graduated from an accredited high school and be accepted to an accredited post-secondary institution.
Deadline: See the association homepage for current deadline or contact them at info@pashowmen.com.
Application: Apply online or download the application here.

T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Education and Compensation Helps) Early Childhood PENNSYLVANIA Scholarship Program
Award: Tuition and books coverage and compensation for completion of education requirements
Requirements: Applicants must be residents of Pennsylvania and be employed in a child care facility or classroom. For each year of award received, students must complete a set amount of units towards his/her degree or certificate. For more information, click here.
Deadline: Usually in July.
Application: Download an application here or request one here.

Three Things to Remember About Pennsylvania Scholarships and Financial Aid

  • Pennsylvania state FAFSA deadlines are different for current students and other students. The FAFSA deadline for current students is May 1, and the deadline for all other students is August 1.
  • Many Pennsylvania financial aid programs only require the FAFSA as an application, but some programs require students to also submit extra applications and paperwork. Read requirements carefully before the deadlines.
  • When searching for scholarships from sources other than the government or school resources, look locally first. Pennsylvania professional groups and nonprofits offer many scholarships. Look in your local community before venturing elsewhere.

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