State Schools in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State Grant Program FAQ

The State Grant deadlines are different for first-time applicants, renewal applicants, and summer- term applicants.

I missed the State Grant filing deadline for the academic year. What should I do?

Submit your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as soon as possible.

We may still consider applications received after the deadline for:

  • Applicants who have a loss in expected family income due to a recent (after January 1) death, disability, retirement, unemployment, divorce, or separation of a parent
  • Applicants who are recently discharged veterans

We may also consider a late application if extenuating circumstances delayed its filing. If there are no special circumstances, we will process a late State Grant application only if there are additional funds to continue processing.

Why must I complete both the FAFSA and the Pennsylvania State Grant Form?

We use the State Grant Form to collect a few more details about you and your family that aren't on the FAFSA to help us determine your eligibility and financial need for the Pennsylvania State Grant Program.

Why must I go to to complete the online Pennsylvania State Grant Form?

American Education Services ( is a division of PHEAA. It's where we maintain Account Access, our online account management tool. You must create an account and sign in to complete the Pennsylvania State Grant Form online.

You may also view the status of your State Grant, and make enrollment updates in Account Access.

Here's some information that you'll want to have ready when you go online to apply:

  • If applicable, the month and year your diploma was received (for High School or GED)
  • Your Social Security Number, not your parent's or guardian's. This will alleviate any processing issues.
  • If married, your spouse's 9-digit Social Security Number
  • If you have a Pennsylvania Treasury 529 College Savings Program account, you may need a recent account statement, or visit

How do I complete the FAFSA if my parents do not financially support me?

Dependency status is among the more common errors made on the FAFSA. Before you complete the FAFSA, first make sure you meet the requirements for financial independence. PHEAA uses these criteria to determine independence, although you may be asked to provide documentation to verify your current status. If you cannot meet any of these requirements, PHEAA uses additional criteria to determine your financially independent status.

If PHEAA considers you financially independent, we will process your State Grant without your parents' financial data. However, if you receive direct support from your parents (money received or bills paid on your behalf), you need to report that support on the FAFSA application where it asks for:

"Money received, or paid on your behalf (e.g., bills), not reported elsewhere on this form."

Must I include my stepparent's information on the application?

Yes, even if your stepparent does not financially contribute to your education. If the birth or adoptive parent whose information is included on the FAFSA has remarried, you must report both that parent's and stepparent's income and assets.

Do I have to report the value of my family's home when I apply for a Pennsylvania State Grant?

No. But you must report the net worth (market value less remaining debt) of any second home or any other real estate investments.

Must I report all of my family's assets?

We do not consider any of the following assets when determining eligibility:

  • Qualified retirement account assets
  • The equity of your home (primary residence)
  • Pennsylvania Treasury 529 College Savings Plans

For the assets we do consider (such as an investment property), we allow you to subtract any remaining debt for which those assets are the collateral before we determine any expected contribution. For example, if you own an investment property with a market value of $50, 000 and you have a mortgage of $30, 000 on the property, PHEAA will use net assets of $20, 000. Debt against your family's home cannot be used when determining the net worth of your family's other investments.

Does PHEAA provide any special processing for veterans for the Pennsylvania State Grant Program?

To be eligible for a Pennsylvania State Grant as a veteran applicant, you must:

  • Have engaged in active service with the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard or have been a cadet or midshipman at one of the service academies
  • Have been released under a condition other than dishonorable, bad conduct, uncharacterized, or other than honorable conditions
  • If not a veteran now, be a veteran by June 30 of the academic year for which you are requesting aid

ROTC, current cadets or midshipmen at service academies, and National Guard or Reservists who were not activated for duty for other than state or training purposes are not considered veterans.

If you meet these requirements, PHEAA will disregard your Expected Family Contribution or any Pell award you may be eligible to receive. This means that you will receive the highest Pennsylvania State Grant possible, based on the allowable college costs for the school you are attending.

I've filled out the FAFSA, so why am I getting a message that you don't have my FAFSA data?

There are several reasons why you may get this message:

  • Your Social Security number doesn't match. If you didn't use the same Social Security number for your Account Access account and your FAFSA, we won't be able to match you to your FAFSA data.
  • You indicated that you are a graduate student. Students who already have a bachelor's degree are not eligible for a Pennsylvania State Grant. If this was a mistake, you must update your FAFSA.
  • You just submitted your FAFSA online. If you completed your FAFSA within the past 24–48 hours, please allow several days for processing time and then try again.

Why does my confirmation state my FAFSA is incomplete?

Most likely, you left some FAFSA questions blank (incomplete). The fields on the FAFSA most commonly left blank include the date you established your state of legal residence and the value of your cash, savings, checking, or investments.

What if I haven't yet decided on a school or been accepted?

The State Grant Form requires you to provide the name of a school. If you're unsure, list your first choice. Then, when you make your final decision, you can update your college information online in Account Access.

What are designated Pennsylvania Open-Admission institutions?

The Open-Admission schools that meet the USDE definition and were approved by the PHEAA Board of Directors for State Grant filing deadline purposes are:

  • Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
  • Gratz College
  • Harrisburg University of Science and Technology
  • Lackawanna College
  • Peirce College
  • Pennsylvania College of Technology
  • Pennsylvania Institute of Technology
  • Valley Forge Military College

How do I make corrections to the information on my State Grant Form?

If You Have… Then…
Not yet mailed the final page of the State Grant Form

For enrollment changes, follow the instructions.

For changes not related to enrollment, make updates directly on the final page of your State Grant Form before you mail it.

Mailed your State Grant Form

I need to submit my State Grant Form signature page. How do I do this?

To print and submit your State Grant Form signature page:

  • Select the "Complete the PA State Grant Form" link.
  • In section 3, Confirmation, select the "View/Print Your PA State Grant Form" button and print the document.
  • Carefully read the "Applicant's Rights, Responsibilities, Use of Social Security Number, and Certification for the Pennsylvania State Grant Program."
  • Once you have read this document, sign the "Statement of Certification and Authorization" and return that page to:

    State Grant & Special Programs
    P.O. Box 8157
    Harrisburg, PA

By signing the State Grant Form signature page, you are attesting that you have read and will abide by the "Applicant's Rights, Responsibilities, Use of Social Security Number and Certification for the Pennsylvania State Grant Program" document for this and each subsequent year for which you apply for a Pennsylvania State Grant.

Why am I getting a message that Account Access is currently unavailable?

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