Harrisburg – February 15, 2024 – State Senator Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny) today was unanimously re-elected as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).

Created in 1963 by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, PHEAA is one of the nation’s leading student aid organizations. It serves millions of students and thousands of schools through its loan guaranty, loan servicing, financial aid processing, outreach, and other student aid programs.

“I am honored to be unanimously re-elected as chair by my fellow board members,” Fontana said. “The board is committed to make higher education more affordable to Pennsylvania students and their families, and I look forward to another historic year for PHEAA.”

Since Fontana was elected Chairman, PHEAA held steady the maximum PA State Grant award at its all-time high of $5,750 per student and maintained the interest rates for the PA Forward Student Loan, all while implementing a number of new initiatives:

  • The Educator Pipeline Support Grant Program—a $10 million student teacher stipend program established by the General Assembly to address the commonwealth’s teacher shortage by providing grants of up to $15,000 to alleviate the financial burden for new teachers.
  • The Pennsylvania Mental Health Education Learning Program in Schools, known as PA HELPS. Created by the General Assembly, the $5 million program provides a stipend to support school-based mental health professionals working to complete their internships before receiving their credentials.

The Pittsburgh-area lawmaker has represented the 42nd Senatorial District in Allegheny County since 2005 and is chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus. He also serves on the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development, Finance, Local Government, Rules and Executive Nominations, and Urban Affairs and Housing committees.

First appointed to the PHEAA Board in 2009, Sen. Fontana had previously served as its vice chairman from 2011 to 2022. In the Pennsylvania Senate, Fontana has worked to increase state support for PHEAA and higher education over the years.

More information on PHEAA is available on its website.