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Pennsylvania scholarships, student loans and grants

Though limited, there are three programs that may be able to help.

Pennsylvania has one of the highest average student debt rates in the country — most graduates leave school with over $35,000 in student loans. This is largely because the state doesn’t offer many scholarship or grant opportunities to residents. And those it does offer are largely based on financial need.

Top Pennsylvania college scholarships

If you’re a resident of Pennsylvania, you may be eligible for its single merit- and need-based scholarship opportunity.

Ready to Succeed Scholarship


How much you qualify for depends on whether you’re a full-time or part-time student:

  • Full-time students: $500 to $2,000 per year
  • Part-time students: $500 to $1,000 per year
Eligibility requirements

To qualify for this scholarship, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • High school GPA of 3.5 or higher
  • Attending an eligible federal Title IV postsecondary institution
  • Completed at least one academic year — 24 semester credits or the equivalent
  • Family income of $110,000 or less
  • Complete the FAFSA and State Grant Form (SGF)
  • Meet the requirements of the Pennsylvania State Grant

The Ready to Succeed Scholarship (RTSS) offers high-achieving students up to $2,000 per year, though you need to attend college for at least a year before you qualify. There’s no application — your school nominates you and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) evaluates your eligibility.

Top Pennsylvania grants for school

Pennsylvania only has two general grant programs — here’s how they break down:

Pennsylvania State Grant Program


Varies based on your financial need, the school you’re attending and the number of online courses you’re taking

Eligibility requirements

To qualify for this grant, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Pennsylvania resident
  • High school graduate
  • Attending an eligible federal Title IV postsecondary institution at least half time
  • Enrolled in an approved program that’s at least two years long
  • Haven’t received the maximum number of Pennsylvania State Grants
  • Of satisfactory character — including no incarcerations
  • No previously earned bachelor’s degree or its equivalent
  • No defaults on educational loans
  • Make satisfactory academic progress, as defined by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA)

The Pennsylvania State Grant provides free financial assistance to residents of Pennsylvania facing financial hardship. The state also has a Summer State Grant Program for students enrolled in eligible summer courses. While there are no strict income limits, students whose parents make more than $100,000 likely won’t qualify.

Pennsylvania Targeted Industry Program


You may qualify for up to $4,123 or 75% of your cost of attendance after other aid — whichever is less. However, veterans may receive up to 100% of their cost of attendance.

Eligibility requirements

To qualify for this grant, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Pennsylvania resident
  • Earned a high school diploma, GED or recognized homeschool certificate
  • Attending an eligible federal Title IV postsecondary institution
  • Enrolled full time or half time in an approved program of study that’s between 10 weeks and 2 years long
  • Complete the FASFA and PA-TIP application
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Not receiving a Pennsylvania State Grant
  • No defaults or refunds owed on educational loans or grants
  • No incarcerations
  • US citizen or eligible noncitizen

Veterans will also need to supply a copy of the DD214 Form.

Approved programs of study

You might qualify for the PA-TIP if you’re studying:

  • Energy
  • Advanced Materials and Diversified Manufacturing
  • Agriculture and Food Production

The Pennsylvania Targeted Industry Program (PA-TIP) is designed to encourage students to pursue training in skills that are in high demand by employers. It’s available to high school students as well as those who’ve already received a bachelor’s or graduate degree. Funds can be used for your entire cost of attendance, as opposed to just tuition and fees.

To apply, you need to fill out both the FAFSA and the PA-TIP application, which can be found on the PHEAA website.

Other Pennsylvania grants

On top of its two general grants, the state of Pennsylvania also offers a few opportunities geared toward specific groups.

  • Postsecondary Educational Gratuity Program (PEGP). Children of Pennsylvania service members who died in the line of duty may be eligible for a waiver that covers 100% of the cost of tuition, fees and on-campus room and board at a public postsecondary institution.
  • Pennsylvania Chafee Education and Training Grant Program. If you aged out of the Pennsylvania foster care system, you may qualify for up to $5,000 per year to put toward your undergraduate degree at a federal Title IV school.
  • Blind or Deaf Higher Education Beneficiary Grant Program. Blind and deaf students from Pennsylvania may be eligible for up to $500 per year to offset the cost of an undergraduate program.
  • Children of POW/MIA Soldiers Grant. If you’re the child of a parent who was designated a prisoner of war (POW) or deemed missing in action (MIA), you may be eligible for a grant of up to $1,200.
  • Pennsylvania National Guard Education Assistance Program (EAP). If you’re already a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard or willing to commit to six years of service, you could qualify for up to 100% of your cost of tuition for an undergraduate degree.

Do I qualify for Pennsylvania scholarships and grants if I go to school out of state?

You might. Pennsylvania is one of a few states that allows its grant and scholarships to be used at postsecondary institutions outside state lines, though your funding may be reduced. You might be able to qualify for Pennsylvania’s state-funded aid if you’re attending school in:

  • Delaware
  • Massachusetts
  • Ohio
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Washington, DC

Does Pennsylvania offer special student loans to residents?

Not yet, but it plans to in the future. According to the PHEAA website, the state will soon offer competitive loans to undergraduate and graduate students and their parents, as well as refinancing options. We’ll update this page as we learn more.

Other ways to pay for school in Pennsylvania

If you don’t qualify for any of Pennsylvania’s limited scholarship and grant opportunities, here are a few alternatives to help cover the cost of school.

Federal and college scholarships and grants

The federal government offers many need-based grants to students pursuing postsecondary education. And you should check to see what financial aid programs are available at your specific school, too. For example, Penn State offers both grants and scholarships to help students reduce the cost of attendance.

Federal and private student loans

When all else fails, student loans are a classic way to bridge the gap when scholarships and grants fall short. Start with your federal Direct Loan options. They typically have the lowest rates available to undergraduates. After, you might want to consider your private student loan options.

Compare private student loan providers

Explore your options by APR, minimum credit score, loan amount and loan term. Select the Get started button to start an application with a specific lender.

Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Loan amount Loan Term
Stride Funding Income Share Agreement
Up to $25,000
2 to 10 years
A student loan alternative for graduate students based on your future salary.
EDvestinU Private Student Loans
4.092% to 8.609% with autopay
$1,000 - $200,000
7 to 20 years
Straightforward student loans for undergraduate and graduate students.
CommonBond Private Student Loans
3.74% to 10.74%
$5,000 - $500,000
5 to 15 years
Finance your college education through this lender with a strong social mission and terms that fit your budget.
Edvisors Private Student Loan Marketplace
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Varies by lender
Quickly compare private lenders for your school and apply for the right student loan.
Credible Labs Inc. (Student Loan Platform)
Starting at 0.99% with autopay
Good to excellent credit
Starting at $1,000
5 to 20 years
Get prequalified rates from private lenders offering student loans with no origination or prepayment fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Explore scholarships, student loans and grants in other states

Bottom line

Pennsylvania doesn’t have many options when it comes to free student aid. And with its student loan program still in development, you may want to check out our guide to student loans to explore other ways to pay for school.

Frequently asked questions

Are there any Pennsylvania scholarships available for high school seniors?

Not as of March 2019. Its only scholarship program requires you to have completed at least 24 credit hours of college coursework to qualify. However, it does have a few grant programs high school student may qualify for.

How can I get in touch with the PHEAA?

To contact the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, you can email or call 800-692-7392. Its customer service team is available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.

Where can I find a list of eligible federal Title IV postsecondary institutions?

You can find a list of eligible federal Title IV postsecondary institutions on the Federal Student Aid website.

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