Students seeking state higher education assistance grants for the 2010-11 academic year may now begin submitting applications, Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Schuylkill) announced recently.

Need-based Pennsylvania State Grants are provided to qualified Pennsylvania residents through the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) and do not have to be repaid. Students must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered.

Individuals with Internet access may file their FAFSA electronically at www.PHEAA.org/FAFSA [1] or at fafsa.ed.gov. Completing the FAFSA online reduces errors and speeds up the processing time.

May 1 is the deadline for the Pennsylvania State Grant, but families should contact the schools their student is interested in attending, as many have earlier financial aid deadlines.

Federal, state and institutional student aid programs have varying deadlines. Be sure to submit a completed FAFSA prior to the earliest deadline for awards for which the student may be eligible.

The PHEAA Web site offers services to manage student accounts successfully and obtain information about Pennsylvania State Grants or special programs that would be relevant to secondary education students including account summaries, free online applications, online payment options, and additional forms of financial assistance such as work-study programs, special grants or scholarships and loan forgiveness programs for those who qualify.

For more information on FAFSA Workshops, PHEAA grants or for an application, visit Knowles' Web site at RepKnowles.com.