HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is reminding students and families that the 2017-18 Pennsylvania State Grant application filing deadline is May 1.
This deadline applies to all renewal applicants and first-time applicants who plan to enroll in colleges, universities or a college transfer program at 2-year public or private colleges (except community colleges and designated Pennsylvania Open Admission institutions).
To apply for a Pennsylvania State Grant, applicants must first complete the 2017-18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Applicants can access the FAFSA online at PHEAA.org/FAFSA or fafsa.gov. Completing the FAFSA online saves time and reduces application and processing errors.
In addition to completing the FAFSA, first-time applicants must also submit a completed Pennsylvania State Grant Form (SGF).
First-time applicants who submit the FAFSA online will be automatically redirected to the SGF by following the onscreen prompts on the FAFSA confirmation page. First-time applicants who have already submitted their FAFSA but have not completed the SGF will receive an email directing them to PHEAA’s secure Account Access site for completion.
Both applications are free to submit.
“When paying for college, students should take advantage of available gift aid, such as grants and scholarships, before taking out a student loan,” said Representative Mike Peifer, PHEAA Board Chairman. “With the State Grant application deadline approaching on May 1, students should not miss the opportunity to help make their education more affordable while avoiding unnecessary student loan debt.”
First-time State Grant applicants who plan to enroll in a community college, business, trade or technical school, a hospital school of nursing, a designated Pennsylvania Open Admission institution, or a non-transferable 2-year degree program at a community, 2-year or 4-year college have until August 1, 2017 to complete their Pennsylvania State Grant application.
“The State Grant Program can be a financial lifesaver for many college-bound students and their families,” said Senator Wayne D. Fontana, PHEAA Board Vice Chairman. “Since the program is need-based, it provides the greatest benefits to those who may be struggling the most to cover the cost of higher education.”
While the IRS and U.S. Department of Education recently announced that the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on fafsa.gov is expected to be unavailable for the remainder of the 2017-18 financial aid application season, applicants should still complete the FAFSA before the May 1 deadline.
However, applicants must now manually enter their 2015 tax information from the tax return filed in 2016 (not their 2016 tax information that is filed in 2017).
Additionally, applicants without immediate access to accurate income data can provide estimated information and then make updates after filing by logging into their account on the FAFSA homepage and clicking “Make FAFSA Corrections”.
Students and families with questions about the FAFSA or the State Grant Program can call 800-692-7392 for personal assistance.
Students and families are encouraged to visit PHEAA on Facebook, at facebook.com/pheaa.aid, where they can learn more about the higher education financial aid process, reminders of financial aid deadlines, and information pertaining to planning for higher education. Additionally, video tutorials explaining the student aid process and types of aid available can be found at YouTube.com/PHEAAstudentAid.