HARRISBURG, June 16, 2011 – State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana, who also serves as Vice Chairman of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), announced today that the Board of Directors has authorized a $50 million public service contribution by PHEAA to the Commonwealth to supplement the Pennsylvania State Grant Program.

“I am very proud to be part of the PHEAA Board today,” Fontana said. “This organization has made significant strides in accomplishing its goal of becoming a valuable partner with Pennsylvania parents and students. Today’s vote to provide $50 million to the Commonwealth to benefit the parents and students of this state through the state grant program – by nearly $700 per grant – is evidence of how far PHEAA has come.”

The proposed state grant appropriation for the 2011-12 academic year if $380.9 million. Combined with the $50 million supplement, the maximum state grant award will increase from last year’s level of $3,541 to $4,309, approximately $700 more. The Board also voted to move the state grant application deadline from May 1 to August 1 for non-renewal students who attend community college. This action is expected to provide awards for approximately 15,000 additional community college students.

“The selection of top administrative staff and the reorganization of PHEAA has certainly been the primary factor in the positive news that we see today,” Fontana said. “This supplement is funded entirely from PHEAA’s business earnings and is in addition to the $15 million that PHEAA incurs to administer the state grant program and provide public service outreach – at no cost to taxpayers. That’s really the best news.”

Once the budget is passed, final awards will be recalculated for all students and notification will be made if there are any changes to students’ eligibility.

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