HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) – The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Secretary, Dr. Noe Ortega, reminded residents who are preparing for higher education, about the upcoming Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) deadline of May 1.
Officials say the FAFSA is an important tool for students seeking post-secondary education opportunities.
“By submitting the FAFSA, students are doing more than just opening the doors to the future. They’re opening doors to more options, to more experiences and most importantly, they’re making those doors easier to open for others,” said Secretary Ortega. “The FAFSA helps current and prospective students further their education in an affordable way. And that’s something that’s needed now more than ever,” Ortega added.
Ortega was joined this morning by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) and The Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.
“When the FAFSA is not filled out, students may be leaving money on the table that potentially will fund their education,” said John W. Friend, Vice President for Admissions & Secondary Schools at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. “Ensuring that students complete the FAFSA and that families understand its importance is one of the priorities of our admissions and financial aid team.”
Current and prospective undergraduate and graduate students should submit the FAFSA to the U.S. Department of Education to determine eligibility for federal aid.
Ortega says post-secondary preparation can be extremely overwhelming. However, applications like the FAFSA are extremely important to complete.
“There are also so many applications to fill out, deadlines to adhere to and materials that you have to collect. That part can be less exciting, but it’s also extremely critical,” said Ortega.
In some cases, the sooner it’s completed, the better.
“Submitting the FAFSA as soon as possible is the first step toward receiving both federal and state student aid – including the PA State Grant Program, which is providing a $5,000 maximum award during the current academic year,” said State Representative Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland).
Rep. Delozier serves as a PHEAA Board member and Chair of the Board’s Executive Committee. She says the PA State Grant Program can provide post-secondary opportunities to those who might not be able to afford it.
“Unlike student loans, PA State Grants do not need to be repaid, which can help reduce or eliminate the need to borrow money, making college an affordable reality for many of our students with financial need,” Delozier added.
According to the PDE, all first-time applicants enrolled in a community college; business, trade, or technical school; hospital school of nursing; designated Pennsylvania open-admission institution; or nontransferable two-year program, all have an extended deadline the first year they file: August 1, 2022.
PDE also says individuals financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic may be able to adjust their FAFSA and qualify for additional aid.
More information about adjustments and eligibility can be found on the Federal Student Aid website or students may contact their institution.
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