In recognition of Financial Aid Awareness Month, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) urges prospective college students to exercise financial prudence in funding their education, emphasizing the importance of exploring free aid options before resorting to loans.
Senator Wayne Fontana, Chairman of the PHEAA Board of Directors, cautions, “Students should not take on unnecessary debt. First and foremost, they should exhaust every opportunity for free aid, such as grants and scholarships. A work-study job can also help them afford their tuition. If they still need to borrow, federal loans should be taken out first. If a gap still exists in their funds, then we recommend our state-based PA Forward Student Loan Program.”
PHEAA’s public service mission centers around creating affordable access to higher education. The PA Forward Student Loan Program was established to assist Pennsylvania students and families in financing their higher education affordably. As both the lender and loan servicer, PHEAA provides loans for undergraduate and graduate students and parent borrowers. In situations where federal aid options are exhausted for the year, PA Forward Student Loans step in, covering 100% of the remaining costs. Furthermore, borrowers have the option to refinance their student loans with PA Forward, consolidating federal and private student loans into a single convenient monthly payment.
James Steeley, PHEAA President & CEO, expresses pride in offering a low-cost option for students facing difficulties bridging the financial gap between savings or earnings and the final tuition cost. He states, “PA Forward gives them the best option for starting their work career in the best possible financial situation. We do not want to see students graduating with unmanageable debt.”
Serving as both the lender and servicer, PHEAA operates the program with a line of credit from the PA Treasury and tax-exempt allocation from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). PA Forward is open to Pennsylvania residents attending an approved school within or outside the Commonwealth or students from approved states (DE, MD, NJ, NY, OH, VA, and WV) attending an approved Pennsylvania school.
To assist students and parents in the college-planning process, PHEAA and PA Forward are conducting a series of free virtual webinars during Financial Aid Awareness Month. The webinars cover topics such as “Searching for Scholarships and Affording the Balance” and “Advanced Planning for Financing Higher Education,” providing valuable insights and guidance.
For those interested in learning more about PA Forward Student Loans and applying, visit PHEAA.org/PA-Forward or call 1-800-PA-FORWD.