Pilot Program To Offer Financial Aid For Distance Learners

Career College Central Summary:

  • As more students enroll in online degree programs, the state financial aid agency is launching a pilot program to provide grants to distance learners. Lawmakers approved the distance education pilot program in the 2013-14 budget, which will lift the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency’s grant requirements and make more students eligible for financial aid.
  • Previously, students completing more than 50 percent of their coursework online did not qualify for PHEAA grants. But as a growing number of students — most of them adult learners with jobs or familial responsibilities that make it difficult to complete coursework in a traditional setting — enroll in online programs, the agency is changing its rules. 
  • Schools have until Sept. 15 to sign up to be a part of the program and only students from these institutions will be eligible for the grants, which average $3,127, PHEAA spokesman Keith New said.
  • In the past five years, enrollment in the 90-plus graduate, undergraduate and professional education online programs through the Penn State World Campus has almost doubled.
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