The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency announced that its annual Pennsylvania Student Aid Guide is available online to students and families for guidance on understanding the federal student financial aid process under the College Planning section of PHEAA.org .

The free Student Aid Guide is Pennsylvania's most comprehensive financial aid publication and is a great resource for finding everything students and families need to know about the financial aid process and paying for higher education.

The Guide offers in-depth information on Pennsylvania's aid programs, including the need-based State Grant Program, the Pennsylvania Work-Study Program and the Pennsylvania Targeted Industry Program (PA-TIP).

The online version of the guide is interactive and includes links to web pages of particular interest, including:

Ÿ How to qualify for grants and scholarships and other "free" aid that does not need to be repaid

Ÿ Types of loans that are available to students and their parents to help pay for their education

Ÿ Career planning tools and access to checklists, timelines, applications and forms that families will need to apply for and receive financial assistance

The guide offers tools to help students and families create a student budget that estimates annual expenses and provides helpful resources and contact information.

PHEAA recommends that families considering taking our federal student loans or private loans visit its newest website, MySmartBorrowing.org.

For information on the higher education financial aid process, schedules for upcoming financial aid nights and FAFSA Completion Sessions, reminders of financial aid deadlines, and video clips offering tips and information pertaining to planning for higher education, students can join PHEAA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pheaa.aid.