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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=24224
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: June 23, 2017 03:01 PM
From: Representative Thomas J. Quigley
To: All House members
Subject: Inclusion of Distance Education in State Grant Program
 
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that will amend the Higher Education Scholarship Law to make students enrolled in distance, or online, education programs eligible for PA State Grants.

In 2013, the General Assembly passed Act 59, which authorized the PA Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) to create a five-year Distance Education Pilot Program to provide grants to eligible students enrolled in approved distance education programs. Under the pilot program, students taking more than 50% of their credits online from an institution of higher education headquartered and domiciled in Pennsylvania are eligible to receive grants. Under this pilot program, during the 2014-2015 grant award year, more than 5,900 students received grant awards, which totaled $8.52 million.

As you may know, under current law these students enrolled in distance programs are not otherwise eligible to receive grants under the traditional PA State Grant Program, and the pilot program granting them eligibility under Act 59 is due to sunset June 30, 2018. Therefore, without a change to current law, these students will no longer be eligible for this critical state support after the program ends. My legislation will simply allow for the permanent inclusion of students participating in distance education programs in the PA State Grant Program.

As online learning becomes a more prevalent and effective method for delivery of instruction in the 21st century, I believe it is essential for us to continue to support the Commonwealth’s postsecondary students who are taking advantage of such technological developments in education, as they work toward obtaining their degrees.

Thank you for your consideration of this proposed legislation.



Introduced as HB1653