Grants and scholarships make it possible for many people to attend college who otherwise would not be able to afford the steep costs of higher education. Unlike student loans, you do not become indebted by these types of financial aid. There are a wide variety of sources for grants and scholarships in Pennsylvania.
While top students will be eligible for the broadest range of scholarships, you do not have to be an honor student to apply in all cases. Here are some available opportunities for scholarships in the state of Pennsylvania.
- PHEAA Academic Excellence Scholarship Award Program – Awarded based on academic merit, this scholarship is open to high school seniors and to all majors. The deadline for application is May 1 and the award amount is $1,500. You must be a Pennsylvania resident to apply.
- The Hellenic University Club Undergraduate Scholarships – Many scholarships are focused on students based on ethnicity, gender, major, disability or other similar considerations. The Hellenic University Club Undergraduate Scholarship is open to students of Greek descent who are U.S. citizens, and who live in certain counties of Pennsylvania or New Jersey. Academic achievement and financial need are the criteria for winning the award. Applicants must be full-time students at an accredited college or university, or high school seniors accepted into a qualified college degree program.
- Pennsylvania House of Representatives Scholarship Program – Awarded by the House of Representatives to high school seniors accepted into a Pennsylvania higher education institution. The award is based on academic achievement and applicants can reapply for their entire undergraduate education up to four years.
- The CORE Philly Scholarship Program – Open to high school seniors who are residents of the city of Philadelphia. Applicants must also have at least one parent or guardian who is a Philadelphia resident, and the applicant must have graduated from a Philadelphia secondary school. Open to students seeking a associate’s or bachelor’s degrees at participating colleges and universities.
- Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers — Award based on academic performance. Must have a minimum 3.6 GPA, and minimum SAT scores of 700 in Math and 600 in Verbal. Applicants must be enrolled as first year engineering students at an accredited Pennsylvania college or university. The Society awards five $1,000 scholarships every year.
- The Sue Wiseman Scholarship – Also known as the PA Cleanways Scholarship, this is one-time award for students who have founded a project aimed at improving the environment. The project must be focused on one of the following areas: beautification, education, illegal dumping, littering, disposal or recycling. The award amount is $1,000 and is available for any postsecondary institution.
- DeSales University Tuition Opportunity Program – A scholarship to attend DeSales University. Applicants must have an A.A. or A.S. degree at an articulated community college and acceptance for enrollment at DeSales University as a full-time junior. The award amount is equal to the entire tuition paid at the community college.
Educational grants are offered by federal, state and local governments, educational institutions, and private contributors. Like scholarships, grants are often offered on the basis of academic achievement and financial need.
Grants may also be targeted at certain demographic groups, or based on the major of the applicant. Here are some available grants for Pennsylvania students:
- Pell Grant – Offered as part of the federal student aid program, undergraduate students can apply for grants of up to $4310 a year if they meet the financial need requirements.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant – Supplements the Pell Grant for the poorest students with awards of up to $4,000.
- National SMART Grant – For students in the science, technology and mathematics fields in their third or fourth year of undergraduate study. Provides a supplement to the Pell Grant of up to $4,000 a year.
- Academic Competitiveness Grant – For high school students who meet certain academic requirements in their educational program. The ACG is a supplement to the Pell Grant with awards of up to $750 for freshman, and up to $1,300 for students in their second year.
- Postsecondary Education Gratuity Program – For high school seniors of all majors who are residents of Pennsylvania. The award pays for tuition, room and board, books and fees. Open to children of those who had lost their lives while performing duties as Pennsylvania police officers, firefighters, first responders, correctional officers, or National Guard members after January 1, 1976. Also, sheriffs, deputy sheriffs and certain other individuals on active duty military who have died on duty since September 11, 2001 are also eligible.
- State Grants for Veterans – Open to veterans of any military branch, this award is for up to $2,700. Based on financial need, the award is open to all majors who are undergraduate students and residents of Pennsylvania. Students must be attending at least half-time.
- Grant for POW/MIA Dependents – Open to dependents of members of any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. The award covers tuition and fees and is available to high school seniors and undergraduates of all majors. Applicants must be residents of the state of Pennsylvania. The parent of the applicant must have been either a prisoner of war, or listed as missing in action whle serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
- Pennsylvania State Grants – Offered by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, these grants are for full and part-time students who meet financial need requirements. The grant can be renewed for the entire undergraduate program.
- Kids Chance of Pennsylvania – Offered to students who demonstrate financial need due to the death or severe injury of a parent at work. The injury must qualify according to the requirements set by the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act. Students must be between 16 to 25 years old and accepted into a postsecondary educational institution.
- Pennsylvania National Guard Members – Grants for tuition and fees open to members of the Pennsylvania National Guard. All majors are accepted for undergraduate programs. The applicant must be a resident of Pennsylvania. The award is renewable. The program is known as the Educational Assistance Program (EAP) and is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) and PHEAA.
Other sources of grants and scholarships
Many local community organizations offer grants and scholarships for local students. You can try contacting your nearest postsecondary education institution for information on groups located in your area. Or you can directly contact civic groups like Rotary clubs, Lions clubs, Mason lodges, and other organizations and clubs involved in civic and community work.
Also, local governments can sometimes offer financial aid to students who study at local higher education institutions. Contact the different branches of local government to see if anything is offered. Government offices may also be able to provide information on additional private sources of educational funding. The internet search engines are another great place to search for grants and scholarships in the state of Pennsylvania.