James H. Steeley, the President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), delivered a speech to the House Appropriations Committee on March 21, 2023, in anticipation of the 2023-24 State Budget. PHEAA, which has been in operation since 1963, works to provide affordable access to higher education for Pennsylvania students and their families.
Each year, PHEAA appears before the House Appropriations Committee to present information on more than 20 student aid programs, including the state-funded PA State Grant Program, which it administers on behalf of the Commonwealth. PHEAA covers the administrative costs of these programs, which amount to an estimated $19.2 million per year, using its own earnings. PHEAA also provides other services, such as outreach activities to encourage participation in higher education and cash supplements to the PA State Grant Program.
Mr. Steeley noted that the PA State Grant Program had reached a new milestone in the current year, with the highest maximum award since its inception. The 2022-23 appropriation of $331.370 provided a roughly $21 million increase in funding to the program and enabled a maximum award of $5,750 for 2022-23, a $750 increase from the previous year.
Mr. Steeley also introduced several new programs that PHEAA is administering for the Commonwealth, including the Pennsylvania Mental Health Education Learning Program in Schools (PA HELPS), the Active Volunteer Tuition and Loan Assistance Program, and the Military College Educational Assistance Program. He expressed his pride in being a part of these initiatives, which aim to create change and provide an affordable path to higher education.
Mr. Steeley’s complete testimony can be found at https://www.pheaa.org/documents/press-releases/ph/032423-2.pdf