State Capitol Roundup

House State Government Committee Considers Right-to-Know Law Changes

Members of the House State Government Committee recently held a public hearing on several bills aimed at updating the state‚Äôs Right-to-Know Law.  Testifiers at the hearing included representatives from the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records, the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors and Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs.  The Right-to-Know Law governs access to public information for each Commonwealth agency, local agency, judicial agency and legislative agency.  Lawmakers have made it a priority to work to enhance government openness and transparency in the last decade.

PHEAA Launches Pilot Program for Online Education Students

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is launching a pilot program to extend state grant benefits to the growing number of students pursuing college degrees online.  The pilot program is a step toward modernizing the Pennsylvania State Grant program to better serve the needs of students, as the grant program is currently only available to students who earn 50 percent or less of their college credits online.  Under the pilot program, students earning up to 100 percent of their credits online may qualify for grant assistance if they are attending a participating Pennsylvania school and otherwise meet grant program qualifications.  Applications from qualified higher education institutions are due by mid-September; PHEAA will then review the grant applications of students who were turned down for state grants because they exceeded the 50 percent threshold for online education.  Students who qualify for grant funding under the pilot program will be notified later this fall, likely in November.  Students need not take any other action at this time.  The five-year pilot program is being funded through PHEAA earnings and will not impact the traditional state grant program.
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