Postsecondary Education Grant Program Helps Students Earn Degrees Sooner

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What would you do with $2,000? If you're a qualified Arizona undergraduate, the new Postsecondary Education Grant (PEG) Program could help you earn a baccalaureate degree.

Passed by the Arizona State Legislature last summer, the landmark grant program will award resident Arizona undergraduates up to $2,000 a year for as many as four years to pay for all or a portion of tuition, books and fees at more than two dozen participating private colleges and universities statewide.

Grants are prorated for students taking less than 12 credit hours but taking a minimum of six credit hours. To be eligible, students must:

  • Be a graduate of an Arizona public or private high school, have completed grade 12 in a home school program, or obtained a GED;
  • Enroll in a baccalaureate program at a nationally or regionally accredited private postsecondary educational institution in Arizona;
  • Be a current Arizona resident and state resident for the past five years;
  • Complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); and
  • Be a citizen of the United States or lawfully present in the United States.

Since this is not a loan program, students do not have to pay back their grants. If students do not earn their baccalaureate degree within five years, however, they must reimburse the state for the total amount awarded.

More than $4 million in grant monies will be dispersed for the entire 2006-2007 academic year beginning Friday, Feb. 23. Interested undergraduates should act now because grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

All eligibility documentation, including high school records where appropriate, must be submitted to students' colleges or universities for verification. This takes time, and students cannot submit a Postsecondary Education Grant application until the verification process is completed.

Once students' eligibility is verified and grant applications are completed, students submit them to the Arizona Postsecondary Education Commission, which oversees the program. The Commission will then notify students and their schools about the amount of their awards.

"The Postsecondary Education Grant program is beneficial in two ways," explains Rep. Laura Knaperek (R-17). "First it promotes student choice and opportunity, and second it invites private four-year degree institutions to participate more fully in educating students in Arizona. Currently, Arizonans have limited access to baccalaureate degrees."

Undergraduates should contact the financial aid departments at their colleges and universities right away and visit the Arizona Postsecondary Education Commission's website at http://www.azhighered.gov/home.aspx.

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