In addition to state and federal grants and loans, there are a host of other programs and options to consider. Knowing what’s available is an important first step as you iron out your personal plan. Below are a few more possible cost-saving options to keep in mind.
Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) Educational Aid Programs
PHEAA offers other aid programs that provide funding for higher education. These programs, which carry a very specific set of eligibility requirements, are primarily in the form of grants or scholarships. Learn about other funding opportunities sponsored by PHEAA.
Fostering Independence Tuition Waiver Program
PHEAA coordinates Pennsylvania’s Fostering Independence Tuition Waiver Program. Pennsylvania resident students who have been in foster care while they were age 16 or older, and who demonstrate financial need for Pennsylvania’s John H. Chafee Education and Training Grant Program, may be eligible for the Fostering Independence Tuition Waiver. The waiver pays for tuition and mandatory fees not covered by other types of ‘gift aid’, including government grants. PHEAA provides more detail about the Pennsylvania’s Fostering Independence Tuition Waiver.
Penn College’s point of contact for the waiver program:
Allison Savage, LEAP Adviser
SASC, Rm. 1049
570.320.5228, ext. 7393
Lenfest Immensitas Scholars Program
The Lenfest Immensitas Scholars Program is funded by the Brook J. Lenfest Foundation and Philadelphia Foundation and provides room and board, books, computers, and other essentials for on-campus students who are in or aging out of foster care. Annually, ten scholars will benefit from the scholars program at Penn College, one of four Pennsylvania institutions of higher education that are partnering with the program. Additionally, the program provides a strong support system, which includes academic advising, a summer bridge program, housing and meals during school breaks, financial and money management guidance, and a designated liaison at each school.
To be eligible for the Lenfest Immensitas Scholars Program, applicants must have been served by the Philadelphia Department of Human Services at any time since age 16, earned a high school degree or GED and qualify under the Chafee federal grant program for foster care participants.
To learn how to apply and for any questions, please contact our representative:
Penn College’s representative for the Lenfest Immensitas Program:
Lizze Winters, LEAP Adviser
SASC, Rm. 1047A
570.320.5228, ext. 7841
Sponsorship is available to certain students based on pre-existing criteria, such as a physical or learning disability, displaced worker status (TRA/TAA), job training eligibility (WIA), or employment by a sponsoring company or organization.
The Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) provides vocational rehabilitation services to help persons with disabilities prepare for, obtain, or maintain employment. Contact your local OVR office to see if you are eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, which may include education to help prepare you for a job.
The TRA/TAA Trade Act of 1974 is a government program that provides training and other benefits for individuals separated from employment due to foreign trade. Services provided by Counseling Services include intake interviews, help completing the Application for Individual Training, course break-outs, and other support services. To find out if you qualify for this service, contact your local PA CareerLink.
AmeriCorps is a federal 'service' program that can help you pay for college or repay student loans after you complete your service.
The Federal Work-Study Program is based on need, and provides Penn College students with the opportunity to work up to 15 hours per week to earn money to help pay for educational expenses.
The Pennsylvania College Savings Program (529 Plan) is the tax-smart way to save for college. The program offers three college savings vehicles to help you and your family meet the financial challenges college presents. Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Treasury Department, the program provides a unique combination of state and federal tax advantages, diversity of investment options, high contribution limits, and no age or income restrictions.
Federal Tax Benefits
Students and parents of dependent students that file federal income taxes may be eligible for a tax credit or deduction for qualified education expenses, specifically payments of tuition and fees (including payments credited by educational loans). For more information on the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit, visit the Tax Benefits for Education page provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Personal (non-financial aid) Options
Home equity loans, or second mortgages, can be acceptable options for paying for college, especially if the interest rates are low. You deal strictly with your lender, and there is no impact on any other financial aid you may be eligible to receive.
Personal lines of credit allow you to pay for college expenses as they occur and repay the funds in accordance with the provisions you make with your lender. You deal strictly with your lender, and there is no impact on any other financial aid you may be eligible to receive.
- FAFSA and Federal Student Aid FAQs
- Federal StudentAid.gov
- The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid from FinAid, a private company
- PA State Grant FAQs
- Selective Service System register online
- Request a Tax Return Transcript from the Internal Revenue Service
- IRS Help in Determining your Tax Filing Status
- Request a Proof of Income Statement from the U.S. Social Security Administration