Senator Vincent J. Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) applauded the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) Board of Directors for ensuring recipients of the Pennsylvania State Grant Program did not lose any funding, pending passages of the state budget.
In April, Senator Hughes, Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny), who also serves as the vice chairman of the PHEAA Board of Directors, Senator Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery), and Senator John Blake (D-Lackawanna, Luzerne and Monroe) were vocal in asking the board to look at ways to avoid reducing the grant award to students. The board voted to maintain the maximum award of $4,123 on Thursday rather than cutting the award by $705 as was proposed in April’s meeting. Now 150,000 students stand to benefit from the full funding, provided the state budget is passed.
“I am thankful the PHEAA Board took a second look at its commitment to the Pennsylvania State Grant Program and its impact on our students,” Senator Hughes said. “There are 150,000 students who will be able to breathe a little easier because this program has been fully funded, making expenses such as books, transportation and food less stressful when budgeting.”
The $705 cut would have represented a 25 percent decrease in grand funding per student. Senator Hughes had said “the idea of reducing the amount of the award really seems to be inconsistent with the reality that a number of our students are dealing with,” and is working to help the state’s growing number of homeless and food insecure students.
“I am pleased that we can honor our commitment to higher education,” Senator Hughes said. “This is a testament to how we can find solutions if we work together and put our students first. I hope we can move forward with this spirit in addressing other education issues.”