Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency Grant
To be considered annually for a Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) Grant, the state must receive students’ processed FAFSAs by May 1 prior to the academic year they’ll attend. A student can receive a PHEAA grant if enrolled as an undergraduate at least half time pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree, demonstrates financial need, does not have a first bachelor’s degree, and is a legal resident of Pennsylvania. The student must also be a high school graduate or have earned a GED.
PHEAA determines eligibility and notifies students of any awards through a Student Eligibility Notice. Before a PHEAA Grant can disburse, Student Financial Services must confirm a student’s eligibility by certifying that all eligibility requirements of a program are met, including attendance. This may delay the disbursement of the PHEAA Grant for those registered in courses that start later in the semester, however, pending aid will reflect on the bill. Choosing to enroll in online courses in any given semester, totaling more than 50% of the total registered credits for that particular term, might result in the loss or reduction of a PHEAA State Grant.
Refer to the Satisfactory Academic Progress section for PA State Grant progress requirements.
Aid for Veterans and National Guard Members
Service to our country may qualify a student for financial assistance in pursuing higher education. Students may contact Mercyhurst’s VA coordinator for more information.
Children of Soldiers Declared POW/MIA
PHEAA provides state grants to children of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces who has been designated a Prisoner of War or as Missing in Action and served on active duty after January 31, 1955 and was a resident of Pennsylvania for at least 12 months preceding their service on active duty. Students can obtain the POW-MIA application by calling 800-692-7392. Call 717-720-2366 if you are hearing impaired.
Montgomery G.I. Bill
Contact the Veteran’s Outreach and Enrollment Coordinator at 814-824-2617 for more information and assistance to apply.
Pennsylvania National Guard Educational Assistance Program
The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and PHEAA administer the Educational Assistance Program for members of the Pennsylvania National Guard. This program provides tuition assistance for students who enter into a service commitment with the Pennsylvania National Guard, typically for a period of six years. To be eligible the student must be a bona fide resident (domiciliary) of Pennsylvania and be enrolled in a degree- or certificate-granting program of study. For more information, call 800-464-8273 or visit pa.ng.mil.
Pennsylvania Chafee Education
PHEAA administers the Pennsylvania Chafee Education Grant Program on behalf of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. This program is authorized under the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 as amended by the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Amendments of 2001. The Chafee Education Grant Program offers grant assistance to Pennsylvania undergraduate students aging out of foster care who are attending a postsecondary institution approved for the Federal Title IV student financial assistance programs. To apply for this program, go to pheaa.org/funding-opportunities/other-educational-aid/chafee-program.shtml or call 800-831-0797.
Most students must rely on educational loans to cover at least some portion of their educational costs. Educational loans are available to undergraduate and graduate students as well as parents of undergraduate students. Student loan borrowing is an investment in a student’s future. When deciding to borrow, it is very important that students obtain the best possible loans available in terms of interest rates and repayment options.
Federal student loans are the most favorable type of educational loans for students. Students are advised to get all of the federal loans they qualify for before considering private alternative educational loans. Students are automatically considered for federal student loan eligibility when they file the FAFSA. Amounts can vary based on class level, cost of attendance, financial need, and other financial aid resources.
Federal Direct Loan
Federal Direct Loans are low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Education administered by Mercyhurst University. It is the U.S. Department of Education’s major form of self-help aid and is available through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. There are two types of Federal Direct Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized.
Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
A Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is available to undergraduate students to help meet financial need after other resources are subtracted or to the annual maximum loan limit, whichever is lower. Interest begins to accrue for the student after the student graduates or ceases to be enrolled at least half time. Federal Direct Subsidized Loans have an origination fee that is deducted at the time of disbursement. For current interest rates and origination fees visit studentaid.gov.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
A Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is not based on a student’s financial need. If a student’s Estimated Cost of Attendance is greater than the total financial aid and the student has not reached his or her annual maximum loan, the student may qualify for Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan.
Students are charged interest on this loan from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. Students have the option to pay on the interest while in school, or to allow the interest to accumulate, which adds to the principal amount of the loan and increases the amount to be repaid. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans have an origination fee that is deducted at the time of disbursement. For current interest rates and origination fees, visit studentaid.gov.
Student Employment Programs
Mercyhurst offers programs that allow students to earn money to help finance university expenses and acquire practical work experience through part-time employment. The student must be accepted into a degree-granting program and be attending classes to apply for such jobs. Student-employment programs provide on-campus jobs in many academic disciplines and administrative offices for eligible students. Students may be eligible to participate in the following programs:
Work-Study jobs are not guaranteed and are filled on a first-come basis. Students can find open positions online via the Handshake platform; contact the Career Development Center for more information on using Handshake. Students who do not earn their full FWS or IWS offer during the academic year may have their award eliminated or reduced in future years. In the event of an unexpected closure or reduction in campus-based operations, students who are able to perform their normal duties remotely during the period of closure or reduction in operations are eligible to continue working with the written approval of their area vice president. Students who are unable to perform their normal duties remotely are ineligible to continue working and shall not be paid.