Financial Aid and Student Loans In Pennsylvania

Navigating the world of financial loans and scholarships can be the least fun part of embarking on a new and exciting journey into higher education. Websites abound with rules and guidelines that can sound confusing to the uninitiated, and rarely is all the necessary information in one convenient place.

In this article, we’ve tried to gather as much information for residents of Pennsylvania to provide a solid foundation for navigating their state’s financial aid possibilities. Pennsylvania residents have many options to choose from, including grants, scholarships, and private financing. But, the information is scattered over hundreds of different pages, so we’ve decided to consolidate it for your convenience.  With an average cost of attendance of $42,887, 65% of Pennsylvania students graduate with student loan debt.

What scholarship programs does Pennsylvania have?

Scholarships, both academic and athletic, are much sought to fund academic life. While individual schools offer athletic scholarships to particularly gifted athletes based on superior performance, academic scholarships require much more research and often specific qualifiers.

In this section, we’ll show you some of the most prominent and popular academic scholarship options available in Pennsylvania. Not all students qualify for these scholarships, so pay special attention to the requirements and ask your local guidance counselor to help you navigate the application.

Ready to Succeed Scholarship

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) set up the Ready to Succeed Scholarship up to reward high-achieving students with a financial gift during their second year of college, issuing awards of $1000 for part-time students or $2000 for full-time students. To qualify, students must have a 3.5 GPA or higher when the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) checks your records.

Applicants must be residents of Pennsylvania, citizens of the United States and demonstrate that they’ve achieved second-year status through their total credit hours earned. Students must submit a one-time application as students can’t renew it for successive years. For more information, check the PHEAA website here:

Pittsburgh Promise Scholarship

If you’re a resident of Pittsburgh and have been enrolled as a student there since the 9th grade, PHEAA provides a significant scholarship to help you attain your educational goals. With a total award of up to $5,000 per year, it’s one of the most generous allotments available. However, the actual amount distributed is only applied after your institution subtracts all other grants and loans.

For eligibility, students must have been enrolled in a Pittsburgh school since 9th grade, and carry a cumulative GPA of 2.5 with 90% attendance. The award is distributed directly to participating institutions, and you can transfer if you choose to switch schools. For more information, click on the link or contact your financial advisor.

Ernst R. Behrend Scholarship Program

The Ernst R. Behrend Scholarship program is another regionally-based scholarship designed for residents of Erie County with priority given to children of Hammermill paper company employees. The program presents up to 8,000 dollars annually for Erie County residents who qualify within the eligibility guidelines, submit an essay, and apply.

To qualify, students must be residents of Erie County and hold a minimum GPA of 3.3. They must also score at least 1650 cumulative on the SAT, and have a family income below the threshold of $80,000. You must submit an essay and a FAFSA application to qualify, but the award is renewable yearly.

Pennsylvania Targeted Industry Program

Pennsylvania also offers incentives for students to seek higher education in specific fields needed by the state. The Pennsylvania Targeted Industry Program encourages students in several different areas like energy production, engineering, and agriculture, providing up to 75% of tuition costs to eligible students.

Qualified candidates must have a high school diploma or certified equivalent and be accepted into one of the program-approved school, as well as seeking education in one of the approved fields for up to two years, and be residents of Pennsylvania. Applicants must submit a FAFSA and an application by May 1st. For more information, click the link below.

Hope Through Learning Award

Disadvantaged students often face a considerable burden in pursuing higher education. Fortunately, Pennsylvania attempts to rectify some of the economic disparities with homelessness by providing formerly or currently homeless residents of Allegheny County with a scholarship worth 2,500 dollars to help defray education costs.

Eligible students must submit two letters of recommendation and an essay relating to their homelessness and be under 24 years old. For more information, click the link below for further requirements and how to apply.

What grant programs does Pennsylvania have?

If you haven’t found a suitable scholarship fund to apply for, Pennsylvania still offers several grant opportunities for prospective students. And, students are still eligible for the popular federal grant program, the Pell Grant, which is often issued based on financial need when you fill out a FAFSA application.

Grants work similar to scholarships, though they frequently have lower eligibility requirements, making them more accessible to students who can’t meet scholarship requirements. Grants need not be repaid and are often renewable, so you don’t need to worry about filling out repeated applications.

In this section, we’ll provide an overview of a few of the most prominent Pennsylvania grant programs and discuss a few of the requirements to make students eligible. For more information, though, contact your school’s academic advisor, or work with your high school guidance counselor.

Pennsylvania State Grant

The Pennsylvania State Grant program, offered through PHEAA, is the most extensive state-sponsored and funded grant program, issuing up to 3,722 dollars per year or $1,866 per semester. It works much like the federal Pell Grant, providing additional funds to students who demonstrate financial need with their FAFSA application. The FAFSA, once filled out, is transferred to PHEAA for assessment, and awards are issued directly to the institution once all other grants and scholarships are calculated.

Students must be residents of Pennsylvania, demonstrate financial need, and take at least six credits per semester — 50% of which must be in the classroom. The student must also be enrolled at a school approved by PHEAA and cannot already have a bachelor’s degree. For more information, contact your school’s financial aid office or click the link below.

Pennsylvania Chafee Education and Training Grant Program

Another great grant made available by PHEAA is the Pennsylvania Chafee Education and Training Grant program, which provides needs-based financial assistance to resident students who grew up in the state’s foster system. The award amount depends on your exact needs and won’t exceed the cost of attendance less any other financial aid, but you should receive the maximum amount of $5,000 if you meet all eligibility criteria and don’t have massive loans that exceed your tuition. The grant can be renewed for up to five years of undergraduate study.

To be eligible, you must be a high school graduate under the age of twenty-six that was in foster care by or before age sixteen. You must be an undergraduate at an accredited post-secondary institution and must be enrolled with at least a half-time course load.

Pennsylvania Post-Secondary Education Gratuity Program

It’s incredibly tragic to lose a parent to their duty as firefighters or police officers. The State of Pennsylvania honors their sacrifice with the Pennsylvania Post-Secondary Education Gratuity Program, which helps the children of fallen civil service workers attain their educational dreams. The children of police, firefighters, or other public servants are eligible if their parents have died in the line of duty or been seriously injured, affecting their employment.

To be considered, students need to be 25 years old or younger, residents of Pennsylvania, complete a FAFSA application, and a State Grant Application. For more information, please click the link below.

What student loan programs does Pennsylvania have?

Like most states, Pennsylvania offers no specific state-funded loan programs providing financing for student’s academic progress. But, it does offer a relatively comprehensive and straightforward grant programs. Of course, you’re still eligible and encouraged to apply for federal student loans and Pell Grants through FAFSA, which accesses many of the scholarship and grant programs specific to Pennsylvania.

There are also private student loan lenders to consider. These lenders operate outside of the usual route of student loans and aren’t subject to a FAFSA application. They frequently offer very competitive loans with flexible rates and terms, making it convenient to budget their payments.

Federal student loans

Prospective Pennsylvania students can receive federal financial aid assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA).

Private co-signed student loans

There are many private student loan opportunities for those who need additional assistance on top of federal student loans. Many banks, credit unions, and dedicated lending companies offer private student loans, but almost all require a co-signer.

No co-signer student loans in Pennsylvania

Funding U began because we identified thousands of students who were unable to qualify for a private student loan because they didn’t have an eligible co-signer. While we’re no longer the only provider of such loans, we offer no co-signer student loans to career-focused students currently enrolled full time in college. The requirements for receiving a loan are dependent upon the GPA of the student and the graduation rate of the institution they attend. To learn more about our no co-signer student loans click here.

What Schools Does Funding U Lend To In Pennsylvania?

Generally speaking, Funding U’s no co-signer loans are offered to students at eligible four-year, non-profit, undergraduate degree-granting universities (which means we do not lend to for-profit schools, 2-year schools, graduate schools, or trade schools). Our eligibility requirements are based off of models that aim to predict how likely a student is to graduate, and because of that we have minimum GPA requirements that students must meet and minimum 6-year graduation rates that schools must reach in order to be eligible. To find out more about how we determine our eligibility, click here.

Below is a table listing all of the schools in Pennsylvania that Funding U is currently lending to, with additional details on which grades we are currently lending to, based on the school’s 6 year graduation rate.

School NameFreshman
6 yr
Grad Rate
Albright CollegeNoNoYesYes5169
Allegheny CollegeNoYesYesYes7481
Alvernia UniversityNoNoYesYes5777
Arcadia UniversityNoYesYesYes7178
Bloomsburg University of PennsylvaniaNoNoYesYes6074
Bryn Athyn College of the New ChurchNoNoYesYes5676
Bryn Mawr CollegeNoYesYesYes8792
Bucknell UniversityNoYesYesYes8894
Cabrini UniversityNoNoYesYes5768
Cairn University-LanghorneNoNoYesYes6275
California University of PennsylvaniaNoNoYesYes5373
Carlow UniversityNoNoYesYes5378
Carnegie Mellon UniversityNoYesYesYes8996
Cedar Crest CollegeNoNoNoNo4682
Chatham UniversityNoNoYesYes6385
Chestnut Hill CollegeNoNoYesYes6079
Cheyney University of PennsylvaniaNoNoNoNo1556
Clarion University of PennsylvaniaNoNoYesYes5374
Clarks Summit UniversityNoNoYesYes5764
Delaware Valley UniversityNoNoYesYes5371
DeSales UniversityNoYesYesYes7181
Dickinson CollegeNoYesYesYes8490
Drexel UniversityNoYesYesYes7489
Duquesne UniversityNoYesYesYes8086
East Stroudsburg University of PennsylvaniaNoNoYesYes5070
Eastern UniversityNoNoYesYes6175
Edinboro University of PennsylvaniaNoNoNoNo4566
Elizabethtown CollegeNoYesYesYes7387
Franklin and Marshall CollegeNoYesYesYes8392
Gannon UniversityNoNoYesYes6785
Geneva CollegeNoNoYesYes6480
Gettysburg CollegeNoYesYesYes8290
Grove City CollegeNoYesYesYes8289
Gwynedd Mercy UniversityNoNoYesYes5484
Harrisburg University of Science and TechnologyNoNoNoNo4367
Haverford CollegeYesYesYesYes9297
Holy Family UniversityNoNoYesYes6078
Immaculata UniversityNoNoYesYes6978
Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main CampusNoNoYesYes5672
Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University)NoNoYesYes6682
Juniata CollegeNoYesYesYes7981
Keystone CollegeNoNoNoNo4672
King's CollegeNoNoYesYes6373
Kutztown University of PennsylvaniaNoNoYesYes5574
La Roche CollegeNoNoYesYes5567
La Salle UniversityNoNoYesYes6776
Lafayette CollegeNoYesYesYes8795
Lancaster Bible CollegeNoNoYesYes6076
Lebanon Valley CollegeNoYesYesYes7381
Lehigh UniversityNoYesYesYes8796
Lincoln University (Pennsylvania)NoNoNoNo4768
Lock Haven UniversityNoNoYesYes5470
Lycoming CollegeNoNoYesYes6780
Mansfield University of PennsylvaniaNoNoNoNo4671
Marywood UniversityNoNoYesYes6786
Mercyhurst UniversityNoNoYesYes6982
Messiah CollegeNoYesYesYes7888
Millersville University of PennsylvaniaNoNoYesYes6077
Misericordia UniversityNoNoYesYes6985
Moore College of Art and DesignNoNoYesYes5977
Moravian CollegeNoNoYesYes6882
Mount Aloysius CollegeNoNoNoNo4559
Muhlenberg CollegeNoYesYesYes8291
Neumann UniversityNoNoNoNo4777
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine ArtsNoNoYesYes5276
Pennsylvania College of Art and DesignNoNoYesYes5977
Pennsylvania State University-Main CampusNoYesYesYes8593
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State AbingtonNoNoYesYes5483
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State AltoonaNoNoYesYes6482
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State BeaverNoNoNoNo4676
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State BerksNoNoYesYes5978
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State BrandywineNoNoNoNo4774
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Erie-Behrend CollegeNoNoYesYes6684
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Fayette- EberlyNoNoNoNo4978
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Greater AlleghenyNoNoNoNo4673
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State HarrisburgNoNoYesYes6388
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Lehigh ValleyNoNoYesYes6381
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State New KensingtonNoNoNoNo4778
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State SchuylkillNoNoNoNo4482
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Wilkes-BarreNoNoYesYes5381
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Worthington ScrantonNoNoNoNo4076
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State YorkNoNoYesYes5377
Pennsylvania State University-World CampusNoNoNoNo2954
Point Park UniversityNoNoYesYes6078
Robert Morris UniversityNoNoYesYes6481
Rosemont CollegeNoNoYesYes5364
Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary-OverbrookNoYesYesYes7182
Saint Francis UniversityNoNoYesYes6985
Saint Joseph's UniversityNoYesYesYes8091
Saint Vincent CollegeNoYesYesYes7786
Seton Hill UniversityNoNoYesYes6685
Shippensburg University of PennsylvaniaNoNoYesYes5371
Slippery Rock University of PennsylvaniaNoNoYesYes6781
Susquehanna UniversityNoYesYesYes7187
Swarthmore CollegeYesYesYesYes9498
Talmudical Yeshiva of PhiladelphiaNoNoNoNo4786
Temple UniversityNoYesYesYes7390
The University of the ArtsNoNoYesYes6282
Thiel CollegeNoNoNoNo4855
University of PennsylvaniaYesYesYesYes9598
University of Pittsburgh-BradfordNoNoNoNo4266
University of Pittsburgh-GreensburgNoNoNoNo3565
University of Pittsburgh-JohnstownNoNoNoNo4872
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh CampusNoYesYesYes8393
University of ScrantonNoYesYesYes8287
University of the SciencesNoYesYesYes7785
University of Valley ForgeNoNoYesYes5370
Ursinus CollegeNoYesYesYes7985
Villanova UniversityYesYesYesYes9195
Washington & Jefferson CollegeNoYesYesYes7387
Waynesburg UniversityNoNoYesYes6676
West Chester University of PennsylvaniaNoYesYesYes7585
Westminster College (Pennsylvania)NoYesYesYes7378
Widener UniversityNoNoYesYes6380
Wilkes UniversityNoNoYesYes6076
Wilson CollegeNoNoNoNo4070
Yeshivath Beth MosheNoNoNoNo2189
York College of PennsylvaniaNoNoYesYes5981

General Disclaimer
Funding U creates informational content that is of interest to prospective borrowers and our applicants. The information included in this blog post could include technical or other inaccuracies or typographical errors. It is solely your responsibility to evaluate the accuracy, completeness and usefulness of all opinions, advice, services, merchandise and other information provided herein. FUNDING U IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR, AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL LIABILITY FOR, DAMAGES OF ANY KIND ARISING OUT OF USE, REFERENCE TO, OR RELIANCE ON ANY INFORMATION CONTAINED WITHIN THESE BLOG POSTS (INCLUDING THIRD-PARTY SITES).
Third Party Brands

No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with Funding U, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

External Websites
The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by Funding U. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Funding U Loan Products
Loans are made by Funding U which is a for-profit enterprise. None of the information contained in Funding U’s website constitutes a recommendation, solicitation or offer by Funding U or its affiliates to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments or other assets or provide any investment advice or service.