The top 2 members of the PHEAA (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency) Board of Directors want to restructure the board's composition and give the legislature less influence on how it handles student financial aid.
Currently, 16 of the 20 PHEAA Board members are filled by state representatives and senators. The other four members are appointed by the governor. Republican State Representative Bill Adolph of Delaware County, the Chair of the PHEAA Board, and Democratic Senator Sean Logan of Monroeville, Allegheny County, the vice chair, have introduced legislation to reduce the number of legislators on the board from 16 to 12.
Adolph says the four legislative seats would be replaced with private sector individuals....
"After discussions with our fellow Board members, Senator Logan and I believe that the increasingly complex student aid industry has evolved to the point that it would be best to introduce additional outside professionals to the Board who have expertise in finance, banking and information technology."
The four private industry board members would be appointed by the House and Senate Democratic and Republican caucuses. The legislation would also reduce the current six year board term to four years.
Adolph says this is an appropriate time to restructure the board because in July PHEAA will have a new task. The agency is one of four vendors to be awarded a contract by the federal government to handle student loans with direct lending. Adolph says the money from the federal contract will benefit Pennsylvania college students and families "through larger grants later on down the road."
PHEAA receives an annual state appropriation of nearly $500 million that is used to fund the Pennsylvania State Grant Program and other initiatives created by the General Assembly.