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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20150&cosponId=20683
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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: September 7, 2016 09:49 AM
From: Representative Thomas J. Quigley
To: All House members
Subject: PHEAA Distance Education Bill
 
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that will expand the PA State Grant Program operated by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) to encompass the Distance Education Pilot Program.

As you may remember, in 2013 the General Assembly passed Act 59 which authorized PHEAA to create a five-year Distance Education Pilot Program, that would sunset with the 2017-2018 academic year. The pilot program allows PHEAA to provide grants to eligible students enrolled in approved distance (i.e. online) education programs. The Pilot program operates by allowing students who take more than 50% of their credits online from an institution of higher education that is headquartered and domiciled in Pennsylvania to receive grants. Students receiving grants through the pilot program are not currently eligible under the traditional PA State Grant Program.

Since the adoption of Act 59, PHEAA has conducted research and analysis on the progress of the pilot program. Based on this research and analysis, the PHEAA Board determined that Pennsylvania should move beyond the pilot program. To that end, the Board adopted a formal motion at its April 2016 meeting recommending an expansion of the PA State Grant Program to offer grants regardless of the method of instructional delivery. Basically, “the Board supports the pilot program being rolled into the PA State Grant Program permanently”. PHEAA specifically has recommended that the PA State Grant Program be expanded as follows:
  • To offer grants to an eligible PA student who is enrolled in an approved institution of higher education that is headquartered and domiciled in PA regardless of whether the student’s program of study is 100% online or blended with traditional classroom credits.
  • To offer grants to an eligible PA student who is enrolled in an approved institution of higher education which has a physical location in PA but is not headquartered and domiciled in PA if the student’s program of study is not structured to be more that 50% online or if the student’s online enrollment does not exceed 50% of the total credits for that term.
As online learning becomes an ever more prevalent and important method for delivery of instruction to students in the 21st century I believe it is essential for us to recognize and accommodate such technological developments in education. Therefore, I will be introducing legislation that expands the PA State Grant Program as outlined above.

Thank you for your consideration of this proposed legislation.



Introduced as HB2337