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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: February 17, 2021 11:56 AM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes
To: All Senate members
Subject: Pennsylvania Promise
In the near future I plan to reintroduce Senate Bill 111, known as the Pennsylvania Promise Act, that will improve college access and affordability for Pennsylvania students.

The legislation will remove substantial financial burdens on students and their families and make college more affordable for students attending one of Pennsylvania’s community colleges, state system universities, and state-related institutions.

The Pennsylvania Promise will be administered by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).  Under this proposal, if a student has a total annual household income of $110,000 or less and is a full-time student attending one of the Commonwealth’s state-owned or state-related institutions, the student would be eligible for “last dollar assistance.”  “Last dollar assistance” is provided only after all federal, state and institutional assistance is applied to the student’s account.  The Pennsylvania Promise would cover the costs remaining after all federal and state assistance is applied.  For any student enrolled at a one of the Commonwealth’s community colleges, regardless of income.  For students whose family income is $48,000 or less, the Pennsylvania Promise would provide assistance for costs associated with room and board.
Similar last dollar scholarship programs have been enacted in New York and Tennessee.

Additionally, this legislation provides dedicated grants to adult learners who are seeking additional credentials, including certification and college credit. The legislation will also dedicate funding to improve college access and opportunity for low and middle-income students.
Finally, this legislation would create a funding commission which would be required to produce a report on potential funding sources for the Pennsylvania Promise.  The report would be due in one year from the effective date.

Together we can improve college access and affordability, reduce the financial burden on Pennsylvania’s students and their families, and provide support for our community colleges and state system and state-related universities.

I hope you will join me in sponsoring this important legislation.

Please contact Michael Deery (Michael.Deery@pasenate.com) in my office if you have any questions