Harrisburg, February 13, 2014 – State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny) today was unanimously re-elected to serve as the vice chairman of the board of directors for the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).

“I appreciate the board’s unanimous support and look forward to continuing my work to make a college education more affordable and accessible,” Fontana said. “In these difficult economic times, it is more important than ever to sustain and expand grant and loan programs for aspiring students.”

Created in 1963 by the state legislature, PHEAA has become one of the nation’s leading student aid organizations. PHEAA is a national provider of student financial aid services, serving millions of students and thousands of schools through its loan guaranty, loan servicing, financial aid processing, outreach and other student aid programs.

“As a government leader and public servant, it is especially rewarding to know that the work of the PHEAA Board can have such a positive influence on the lives of so many students and their families,” Fontana said.

Fontana has relentlessly fought to strengthen state budget support for the agency over the years. He fought to restore budget dollars that Gov. Tom Corbett proposed to cut in each of his first three budgets. In 2011, Fontana and his senate colleagues successfully restored $430 million in state budget support for higher education.  That same year, Fontana and his fellow PHEAA board members authorized a $50 million public service contribution by PHEAA to supplement Pennsylvania’s student grant program.

Fontana was also instrumental in restoring state funding support during the past two budget cycles, including spearheading an effort to use surplus funds to restore all funding. The Brookline lawmaker and his fellow board members also managed to shift $75 million in PHEAA earnings to strengthen the grant program.

Elected to the state Senate in 2005, Fontana was first appointed to the PHEAA Board in 2008, and first elected to serve as its vice chairman in 2011. He will again be teaming up with state Rep. William F. Adolph (R-Delaware), who was re-elected to serve as the board’s chairman.

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