Grants are a very desirable type of financial aid because they do not have to be repaid. Most grant aid is based on financial need, so you must complete the FAFSA in order to be considered. Sources of grants include federal, state, private and institutional funds. Because grants never have to be repaid, they are usually limited to the neediest students. For more information about grants and other types of financial aid, call 1-800-4FEDAID and ask for The Student Guide.
Learn more about different kinds of grants available:
Federal Pell Grant
Federal Pell Grants are awarded based on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) established by the U.S. Department of Education upon completion of the FAFSA; the schools cost-of-attendance, and the student’s enrollment status (full time or part time). Federal Pell Grants are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's degree.
To determine eligibility, the U.S. Department of Education uses a standardized formula to determine a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). EFC’s can range from zero to 999,999. When a student completes a FAFSA they will be sent a Student Aid Report (SAR) that contains the EFC; information they inputted on their FAFSA; and any important comments that may need to be addressed with the school such as Verification, Selective Service, Loan Limits, etc. For the 2015-2016 school year full-time students with EFCs range from zero to 5198 qualify for a Federal Pell Grant. Those with EFCs greater than 5198 are not eligible for a Pell Grant but could be eligible for other types of aid. The Pell Grant awards for the 2015-2016 school year range from $626 to $5775.
Please note: If a student decide to take summer classes and are Federal Pell Grant eligible they will be awarded a Federal Pell Grant based on their enrollment status. Those funds awarded in summer will reduce the amount of the student’s spring semester award. To view more information please go to the Summer Financial Aid Page.
You can view what your Pell eligibility will be based on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) by clicking on the Federal Pell chart below.
Maximum Pell Eligibility
The Department of Education has established that students can only receive the Federal Pell Grant for the equivalent of 12 full time semester or 600%. This means a student that has received a Federal Pell grant that is equivalent to 12 full time semesters are no longer eligible to receive the Federal Pell Grant or any other Federal Grants even if they have not completed their first bachelor’s degree. If this happens FAFSA will notify students via their Student Aid Report in the Comment Section and Cal U will update the student’s account based on the information received by the Department of Education. Cal U highly encourages students to monitor the percentage and semesters of Federal Pell eligibility used through the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) at www.NSLDS.ed.gov
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
If you are a Pell Grant recipient with exceptional need, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) may help you even more. This grant is reserved for undergraduate students with the lowest Expected Family Contributions (EFCs). Preference is given to Pell Grant recipients who file their FAFSA before our first priority deadline of May 1. The FSEOG annual award typically ranges from $500 to $1,000, depending on funding levels.
Are you planning a career in the field of teaching? A TEACH Grant may give you up to $3760 per year if you agree to teach full time in a high-need subject area for at least four years at schools that serve students from low-income families. Part-time students are eligible, but the amount of the grant will be reduced based on your enrollment status.
Student Eligibility Requirements
The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant program was created by the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA). To qualify for a TEACH grant, you do not have to demonstrate financial need, but you must complete these requirements:
- File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year that you wish to receive the grant.
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
- Have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.25.
- Successfully pass the Praxis I exams.
- Major in one of the high-need subject areas, such as foreign language, mathematics, reading specialist, science, special education or another field documented as high-need by the federal government, state government or local education agency and approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
Note: The TEACH grant must be repaid as a Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan if you change your major from one of the high-need subject areas listed above.
If you are eligible and want to receive the TEACH grant, you must follow the procedures below:
- Meet with a TEACH counselor in the Financial Aid office for an in person counseling session and to complete an application.
- Complete an online TEACH Grant counseling session.
- Sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve and Promise to Pay each year.
TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve and Promise to Pay
Every year that you receive a TEACH Grant, you must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve and Promise to Pay service agreement through the U.S. Department of Education. The TEACH Grant service agreement specifies the conditions under which the grant will be awarded and the teaching service requirements, and includes an acknowledgment that you understand that if you do not meet the teaching service requirements, you must repay the grant as a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, with interest accrued from the date the grant funds were first disbursed.
To avoid repaying the TEACH Grant with interest, you must be a highly-qualified, full-time teacher in a high-need subject area for at least four years at a school serving low-income students. You must complete the four years of teaching within eight years of finishing the program for which you received the grant. You will incur a four-year teaching obligation for each educational program for which you received TEACH Grant funds, although you may work off multiple four-year obligations simultaneously under certain circumstances. Specific definitions of these terms are included below.
Highly Qualified Teacher
You must perform the teaching service as a highly qualified teacher, which is defined in federal law. The definition can be found online at: www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/esea02/pg107.html
You must meet the state's definition of a full-time teacher and spend the majority (at least 51 percent) of your time teaching one of the high-need subject areas. Elementary teachers who teach many subjects would not be able to fulfill their service agreement.
Schools Serving Low-Income Students
In order to qualify for the TEACH Grant, you must teach at a Title I school that serves low-income students. Schools serving low-income students include any elementary or secondary school that is listed in the U.S. Department of Education's Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits at www.tcli.ed.gov/CBSWebApp/tcli/TCLIPubSchoolSearch.jsp
You must respond promptly to any requests for information or documentation from the U.S. Department of Education, even if they seem repetitive. These requests will be sent to you while you are still in school as well as after you are out of school. You will be asked regularly to confirm that you either still intends to teach, or that you are teaching now, as required. You must provide documentation to the U.S. Department of Education at the end of each year of teaching.
If you temporarily cease enrollment in your program of study, or if you encounter situations that affect your ability to begin or continue teaching, you must stay in touch with the U.S. Department of Education in order to prevent the grant from being converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan before you are able to complete your teaching obligation.
IF YOU FAIL TO COMPLETE THE FOUR-YEAR TEACHING OBLIGATION, YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO REPAY THE GRANT WITH INTEREST!
Pennsylvania State Grant (PHEAA)
PHEAA State Grant Explanation, Forms and Instructions on How to Apply Online:
The PHEAA State Grant is a need-based that provide assistance to students who meet the Financial need requirements to gain eligibility. Besides having financial need students must meet the following criteria to be considered eligible:
How to apply for the PHEAA State Grant: MOST IMPORTANT STEP: Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by May 1st.
Step 1: Complete the FAFSA by May 1 of each year.
Step 2: Apply for the State Grant by completing the State Grant Form
- To apply for a State Grant when you complete the FAFSA
Complete the Pennsylvania State Grant Form online directly from your FAFSA confirmation page. Look for the link that reads "Optional Feature—Start your state application—Click here if you want to apply for Pennsylvania state-based financial aid."
- To apply for a State Grant after you've completed the FAFSA
If you've already submitted your FAFSA online and missed the direct link, you may need to wait until you receive an email directing you to the American Education Services (AES) website to complete the State Grant Form.
- If you don't have an online account with AES you can create one during the State Grant application process.
Step 3: Print, sign, and mail the last page of your Pennsylvania State Grant Form to PHEAA, verifying that you have read the Rights and Responsibilities Certification Document (PDF).
Students will need to login to www.aessuccess.org to view their State Grant Eligibility and make corrections to your PHEAA account. If you do not have a username and password you will be prompted to create one upon accessing the login screen.
In most situations first time recipients of the PHEAA grant will need to submit additional information to PHEAA. If a student must submit additional information PHEAA will send an email to the email address the student listed on the FAFSA to direct them to www.PHEAA.org to login and submit the documentation required.
In Fall of 2013 the Financial Aid Office was approved to be part of the PHEAA State Grant Distance Education Pilot Program. This program will be offered to a limited number of students whose degree of study is either primarily taught online or more than 50% of their semester’s work is online. The Financial Aid Office will nominate PHEAA eligible students and if approved would potentially be eligible for PHEAA state grant funds that were otherwise denied because of their online coursework. For more information about the Distance Education Pilot program please visit PHEAA’s website at www.pheaa.org.
If you have any questions regarding your PHEAA account please contact our office at 724-938-4415.
- Both Parent(s) and Student must be a Pennsylvania Resident for at least two years
- Are a high school graduate or received a GED
- Attend a postsecondary school approved by PHEAA for Pennsylvania State Grant purposes
- Are enrolled at least half-time (6 credits)
- Are enrolled in an approved program of study that is at least 2 academic years in length
- Are enrolled in a program of study where at least 50% of the total credit hours needed for completion of the program are earned through classroom instruction:
- The program itself must be structured to allow you to complete at least 50% of your credits hours in the classroom.
- Your enrollment pattern must also consist of at least 50% classroom instruction
- Have made satisfactory academic progress
- Completing at least 24 credit hours in an academic year as a full time students
- Completing at least 12 credit hours in an academic year as a part- time students
- Not have already earned a bachelor's degree or its equivalent
- Are of satisfactory character (for example, not be incarcerated)
- Not have received the maximum number of Pennsylvania State Grants permitted (total of 8 full time semesters)
- Not be in default or pending default on an educational loan. This also applies to any program where the award has been converted to a loan and the loan is in a default status.
Disbursement to School:
PHEAA sends notification of a student’s potential award eligibility after the semester begins and in most situations the second or third week of the Fall Semester. The Financial Aid Office will certify the student’s enrollment, academic progress, and based on other gift aid eligibility for the full award amount. Once the award is certified, the Financial Aid Office will add the award to the student’s award package. The award will not disburse to the student until the funds are sent by PHEAA and received by the Cal U. Disbursement of these funds for the Fall semester is at the beginning of October and for the Spring the middle of February.
Pennsylvania State Grant Documents and Forms: http://www.pheaa.org/funding-opportunities/state-grant-program/forms.shtml
Pennsylvania State Grant Program FAQ: http://www.pheaa.org/funding-opportunities/state-grant-program/state-grant-faq.shtml
PHEAA State Grant Program Manual: http://www.pheaa.org/funding-opportunities/state-grant-program/pdf/2013-2014/Program-Manual.pdf
Pennsylvania State Grant Program: Apply/Renew: http://www.pheaa.org/funding-opportunities/state-grant-program/apply-renew.shtml#deadlines
Pennsylvania State Grant Special Programs
PHEAA State Grant Special Programs Explanation, Forms and Instructions on How to Apply Online:
Blind and Deaf Beneficiary Grant Program
This is a $500 a year grant awarded to student who are Visual impaired or Deaf and meet the following criteria:
- Download and complete the Blind and Deaf Higher Education Beneficiary Grant Application The Application can be found at www.PHEAA.org.
- Application deadline is March 31.
- Be a Pennsylvania resident.
- File the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) before May 1st .
- Supply written documentation to PHEAA showing that you have been evaluated and are eligible to receive benefits from the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR). OVR’s phone number is 1-866-375-8264 OR Supply documentation from your physician regarding your visual and/or hearing impairment.
- Be enrolled at least half-time in a postsecondary institution and maintain satisfactory academic progress (as determined by the postsecondary institution.)
PATH (Partnership for Access to Higher Education)
This program is for qualifying students who were awarded a scholarship that will be matched dollar for dollar by this program. To be eligible you must meet the following criteria:
- Complete FAFSA by May 1st.
- Be nominated by a participating PATH Partner from which you received a scholarship for the academic year.
- Have received a Pennsylvania State Grant for the semester or quarter for which you have been nominated to receive a PATH grant.
- Demonstrate financial need for a PATH grant (as determined by the postsecondary institution.)
- Be enrolled at least half-time in a Pennsylvania State Grant–approved postsecondary institution in Pennsylvania and maintain satisfactory academic progress (as determined by the postsecondary institution.)
Pennsylvania Chafee Education and Training Grant Program
This is a $4,000 a year grant that is federally funding and awarded to students aging out of Foster Care and meet the following criteria:
- Download and complete the Pennsylvania Chafee Education and Training Grant Program Application at www.PHEAA.org.
- File the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) before May 1st.
- Be a Pennsylvania resident.
- Be eligible for services under Pennsylvania's John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program.
- Be identified as a youth in foster care or a youth discharged or adopted from foster care after age 16.
- Be participating in the Chafee Program on your 21st birthday until you turn 23 years old.
- Be enrolled at least half time.
- Demonstrate financial need for the grant.
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress.
- Not be in default on a federal student loan.
Postsecondary Education Gratuity Program
This program awards students whose parent lost their lives protecting the citizens of Pennsylvania. This program provides a waiver for tuition, fees, and on-campus room and board costs charged by public postsecondary institutions. This waiver applies only to charges that remain after all other grants (federal, state, and outside scholarships) have been applied to your student account. You must meet the following criteria to be eligible:
- Download and compete the Postsecondary Educational Gratuity Program Application at www.PHEAA.org. Application Deadline is March 31st.
- File the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) before May 1st.
- Provide a certified copy of your birth certificate.
- Provide a letter of Admissions and Documentation you applied for Financial Aid.
- Be a resident of Pennsylvania.
- Be a child by birth or adoption of a police officer, firefighter, rescue or ambulance squad member, corrections facility employee, or active National Guard member who died after January 1, 1976, as a direct result of performing his or her official duties.
- Be a child by birth or adoption of a sheriff, deputy sheriff, National Guard member, or other individual who was on federal or state active military duty who died after September 11, 2001, as a direct result of performing his or her official duties.
- Be 25 years of age or younger when you apply for the program.
- Have already applied for available scholarships, as well as state and federal grants.
- Be enrolled at a Pennsylvania community college, state-owned institution, or state-related institution as a full-time undergraduate student pursuing an associate's or bachelor's degree.
Pennsylvania National Guard Education Assistance Program (EAP)
Together with the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, PHEAA administers this tuition assistance program for students who enter into a service commitment with the Pennsylvania National Guard for a period of 6 years. To be made eligible you must meet the following criteria:
- As a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard, contact the readiness NCO (Noncommissioned Officer) at your unit of assignment to complete any paperwork with them.
- Be a resident (bona fide domiciliary) of Pennsylvania.
- Be enrolled in a degree- or certificate-granting program of study at an approved Pennsylvania institution.
Disbursement to School: PHEAA sends notification of a student’s potential award eligibility after the semester begins and in most situations the second or third week of the Fall Semester. The Financial Aid Office will certify the student’s enrollment, academic progress, and based on other gift aid eligibility for the full award amount. Once the award is certified, the Financial Aid Office will add the award to the student’s award package. The award will not disburse to the student until the funds are sent by PHEAA and received by the Cal U. Disbursement of these funds for the Fall semester is at the beginning of October and for the Spring the middle of February.
Additional State Grant Educational Aid Information and Forms: http://www.pheaa.org/funding-opportunities/other-educational-aid/index.shtml.
Career Link: TAA/ WIA Services
Funds for these programs are disbursed at the end of the semester. The Bursar’s Office receives notification at the beginning of each semester so no late fees are accrued. The actual award amount may not be applied until later in the semester after all of your Financial Aid has been packaged. It is possible that the late addition of these awards could result in an adjustment to you loans or other Financial Aid. This award applies only to charges that remain after all other grants (federal, state, and outside scholarships) have been applied to your student account.
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) is a federal program that provides assistance to adversely affected workers who lose their jobs or who hours of work and wages are reduced as a result of increased imports or whose firms have been affected by or are threatened to be affected by, shifts in production to certain foreign countries. It also provides assistance to workers whose firm is a supplier or downstream producer to a firm that received a certification of eligibility. Contact your local CareerLink to see if TAA is an option for you.
Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
The Workforce Investment Act provides federal job training funds for adults and dislocated workers. The funding is meant to assist and offset the costs associated with training. Students can participate in a certificate or degree program. Students must complete a FASFA form.
Workforce Investment Act funding consist of two categories of eligible participants:
- Low Income Adults – For more information and income guidelines, please contact your local CareerLink office and ask for a WIA representative to see if you qualify.
- Dislocated workers – This includes people who lost a job through no fault of their own. Please contact your local CareerLink office and ask for a WIA representative to see if you qualify.
Cal U works with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation so that students with disabilities are able to receive the benefits towards their educational expenses. You will first need to contact your OVR office to begin the process and meet your OVR counselor.
Here is the link to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry website where you can find this information and also an OVR office directory: http://www.dli.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/vocational_rehabilitation/10356.
Once you have met with your OVR counselor they will send the Financial Aid Office a 169 form to complete. You must complete a FASFA and have all financial aid requirements completed in order for us to complete the 169 form. Once all requirements are complete, we will complete your 169 form and return it to the OVR counselor. Approximately two-three weeks after we submit your 169 form to OVR we will receive notification of your OVR award for the semester of attendance and our bursar Office will then bill OVR for those funds. We will add your OVR award to your financial aid package; however it takes 4-6 weeks for funds to be received. Funding usually comes in the middle of October for the fall term and middle of March for the spring term. Please understand that if you have already been awarded financial aid up to your maximum cost of attendance budget we will be required to reduce loans to add the OVR benefit.
OVR is not disbursed at any one given date, rather it comes as each office sends the money so to find out the date the money will be sent to the school you will need to contact your OVR counselor.
Out of State Grants
Some states will award state funds to a student even if they do not attend school in their legal state of residency. These funds are usually limited and less than if they attend a school in their home state. Below are the states that will work with Cal U and award state funds. It is always best to double check with your state grant office to make sure there is no additional paperwork needs submitted before Cal U receives your funds. Also out of state funds are not paid out until Cal U receives the monies from your home state, in most cases this is middle to the end of each semester.
District of Columbia (DC Tag):
- DCTAG provides up to $10,000 toward the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition at public four-year colleges and universities throughout the US, Guam and Puerto Rico. DCTAG also provides up to $2,500 per academic year toward tuition at private colleges and universities in the District and private Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and two-year colleges nationwide. The DC OneApp is the online application college-bound District residents use to apply for funding from the District of Columbia’s Tuition Assistance Grant (DCTAG). The DC OneApp is part of a three-step process that requires:
- Completing the DC OneApp.The DC OneApp must be completed each year to receive funding.
- Completing the FAFSA.
- Providing the DC OneApp required supporting documents at the same time
- All required supporting documents must have been postmarked or hand-delivered before the May 31st deadline to avoid a Waiting List status. A Waiting List status reduces an applicant’s chances of receiving DCTAG funding.
- To complete the DC OneApp visit www.dconeapp.dc.gov.
- For more information please call or visit Higher Education Financial Services at the below: 810 First Street NE, 3rd Floor Washington, DC 20002, Main number: (202) 727-2824, Toll-free: (877) 485-6751, TDD: (800) 752-6096
- The State of Maine Grant program is a need-based program that provides grants for residents of Maine who are undergraduate students who file their FAFSA by May 1st. Student with an EFC below 3000 will be eligible for the Main State grant. Student who receives the Grant will be eligible for up to $250 per year. Funds typically arrive at the school for fall beginning of October and For Spring end of February. For more information about the Maine State Grant visit their website at: http://www.famemaine.com/index.aspx
- The MASSGrant is a grant assistance program for residents of Massachusetts funded by appropriations from the Massachusetts Legislature. The MASSGrant program provides need-based financial assistance to undergraduate students who reside in Massachusetts and who are enrolled in and pursuing a program of higher education in any approved public or independent college, university, school of nursing or any other approved institution furnishing a program of higher education. Students who receive this grant will be eligible for up to $500 per year. Funds for this grant typically arrive at the school for fall mid-October and for Spring end of February. For more information about the Massachusetts State grant visit their website at: http://www.osfa.mass.edu/default.asp
- The Ohio Board of Regents administers the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) program, which provides grant money to Ohio residents who demonstrate the highest levels of financial need (as determined by the results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)) who are enrolled at Ohio public university main campuses (not regional campuses or community colleges), Ohio private, non-profit colleges or universities, and Ohio private, for-profit institutions. Award for Ohio students is $600 a year. Funds typically come in for fall end of October and for spring come in the middle of March. For more information about the Ohio Opportunity grant please visit their website at: https://www.ohiohighered.org/
- The Rhode Island State Grant Program is designed to provide grants (non-repayable financial assistance) to those students whose family resources are not sufficient to meet the costs of higher education. Applicants for the Grant program must file a completed FAFSA. Students must have their FAFSA completed by March 1st of Each school year. Student who received the Rhode Island State Grant could be eligible for up to $750 for the academic year. For more information about the Rhode Island State Grant visit their website at: http://www.riheaa.org/
- The Vermont Legislature designates a certain amount of grant money every year for Vermont residents who want to pursue education or training beyond high school. These grants are administered through VSAC. Vermont Incentive grants are available for Vermont residents enrolled full-time at any postsecondary institution within the United States or Canada that participates in the federal Pell grant program. Student interested in a Vermont State Grant must Fill out the Vermont grant application. The FAFSA confirmation page will provide a link that will take you to the myVSAC registration page, where you can register for a new account or log in to your existing account. Once logged in, you will see the Vermont grant application, which will partially be prefilled from your FAFSA. Student who are eligible for the Vermont State Grant could be eligible for up to $2,350 per year. Funds Typically arrive at the school by end of September for Fall and Mid February for Spring. For More information about the Vermont State Grant visit their website at: http://services.vsac.org/wps/wcm/connect/vsac/vsac/home
- The West Virginia Higher Education Grant is a need-based financial aid program designed to ensure West Virginia students with financial need are given an opportunity to pursue post-secondary education. The grant may be renewed until the student's course of study is completed, but may not exceed an additional three academic years beyond the initial award. Awards are based on demonstrated financial need and generally may be used in conjunction with other forms of state, federal and institutional financial aid. Student who are eligible for the West Virginia State grant could be eligible for up to $600 per year of grant Funding. Funds typically arrive at the school Mid November for Fall and End of March for Spring. For more information on the West Virginia State Grant Visit their website at: https://secure.cfwv.com/Home/_default.aspx
California University of Pennsylvania is a Division II member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). There are 11 intercollegiate teams for men and women. If you are interested in participating in intercollegiate athletics and possibly obtaining an athletic scholarship, you should contact the head coach of your preferred sport.