Three students seated and laughing in conversation with each other in a library.

New, existing aid opportunities opening doors at Penn State Hazleton

Easing the burden on students and parents by helping to make a Penn State education affordable and accessible is a critical part of Penn State Hazleton's mission.
By: Joe Dolinsky

With an understanding that cost plays a major role in a student’s college choice, Penn State Hazleton offers more than 130 scholarships and awards and numerous other student aid opportunities meant to lessen the financial burden and enable access to a Penn State education. 

All students who are offered admission to Penn State Hazleton are automatically considered for scholarships and awards. For the 2021-22 academic year, 93% of Penn State Hazleton students received some form of financial assistance. In all, nearly $876,000 in campus scholarships and awards were awarded that year, with each recipient receiving an average of nearly $3,000. 

“At Penn State Hazleton, we know that every little bit helps when it comes to affording a college education,” Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Elizabeth J. Wright said. “Thanks in large part to a robust endowment and the generosity of individual donors, foundations and organizations who continue to find creative and exciting ways to support our students, we are able to offer abundant aid opportunities to help students from all backgrounds achieve their goal of becoming college graduates.” 

In addition to current scholarships and awards, Penn State Hazleton continues to develop and offer new and expanded aid opportunities for students, allowing them to concentrate on their studies and experiences instead of costs. 

Expanded Discover Penn State Award 

Originally eligible to students residing in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia, the Discover Penn State Award has expanded to include qualifying undergraduate, first-year students from any state enrolling at a Penn State campus other than University Park and World Campus. 

The award provides thousands of dollars in aid for a student’s first and second academic year with the potential to continue for the student’s third and fourth year if they enroll in a four-year degree program. The award would also remain if a student transitions to a Penn State campus other than University Park. Additionally, transfer students are eligible to receive the award each academic year for three consecutive years, depending on the timing of their transfer.  

Sophia Del Vacchio, a first-year criminal justice major and women’s volleyball player from Gainesville, Virginia, said receiving a Discover Penn State Award made her feel wanted and welcomed at Penn State Hazleton. 

“I visited some of the schools in Virginia I got recruited to and none of them felt like home,” she said. 

After being recruited by Hazleton, Del Vacchio learned about the Discover Penn State Award from Head Volleyball Coach Noel Kaufman. She connected with the admissions office and toured the campus. Conscious of cost during her college search, receiving the award helped confirm that Penn State Hazleton was the ideal choice for her, she said. 

“Once I got the award I said, ‘Alright, this is perfect,’” she said. “I loved the campus and the volleyball program and now I had this extra help. It just made me feel like I mattered and wasn’t a number to them.”

The expanded Discover Penn State Awards began Jan. 15 and are awarded through May 1, so students should complete their Penn State application and Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible to receive consideration. 

Pasco L. Schiavo Scholars Program 

The Pasco L. Schiavo Scholars Program provides full tuition to incoming first-year, full-time students who are graduates of Hazleton Area High School, Immanuel Christian School, Marian Catholic, MMI Preparatory School or Weatherly Area High School. Preference is given to students with a demonstrated financial need, who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree, or are pursuing a degree that can be completed at Penn State Hazleton. Recipients receive scholarships for their first and second academic years. 

The program was established in 2021 with a $105,000 gift funded by the estate of late attorney Pasco L. Schiavo, a longtime Penn State Hazleton supporter and philanthropist. It is established from the Pasco L. Schiavo Charitable Foundation Trust, of which Pasco L. Schiavo's sister, Linda L. Schiavo, serves as co-trustee. The trust, funded through the sale of real estate held by Pasco L. Schiavo’s estate, supports area business projects and provides educational funds for students from the Hazleton and Weatherly areas. 

Joel Melo, a first-year architectural engineering major and graduate of the Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences, received the award for the 2023-24 academic year, making his introduction to college life considerably less stressful, he said. 

“The Pasco L. Schiavo Scholars award has been instrumental in providing tuition assistance, which has significantly eased my financial stress and allowed me to concentrate more on my academic pursuits,” Melo said. “Because of that, my experience at Hazleton has been great so far this year. I love the smaller campus community and how helpful the teachers are.” 

Another recipient, Hazleton Area High School graduate Anthony Cusatis, said he was “beyond grateful” to receive the scholarship. 

“Not only was I appreciative of the award, but my family was as well,” said Cusatis, a first-year business major. “It has taken away a lot of worry financially, which I am thankful for. The impact that it had on me is greatly appreciated and will benefit me now and in the future.” 

Bertil E. and Mary M. Lofstrom Scholarship in Business 

Business majors are poised to benefit from a recent $600,000 estate commitment from late campus alumnus Bertil E. Lofstrom, the first installment of which has already been received by Penn State Hazleton.

The Bertil E. and Mary M. Lofstrom Scholarship in Business is a merit-based scholarship for students pursuing or planning on pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree in business. Penn State Hazleton’s bachelor’s degree program features two degree options: management and marketing and an individualized option often selected by students wanting to double major.  

Bertil E. “Bert” Lofstrom and his late wife, Mary, were longtime campus supporters for whom Penn State Hazleton’s library is named. 

“We are incredibly grateful for friends of the campus, like Bert and Mary, who have recognized the transformational power of philanthropy and have created a significant legacy in support of students,” said Desiree Voitek, director of development and alumni relations.

Establishing Excellence Award 

Developed with a donor gift, Establishing Excellence Awards are an opportunity for accepted students to receive an award simply by sharing how they hope to establish their own excellence as a member of the Penn State Hazleton community. 

During an Establishing Excellence Day visit, students experience campus life firsthand by exploring options for creativity and innovation in our Makerspace, meet key individuals and departments, enjoy lunch with future classmates, and sit down with an Admissions team member to chat about how they plan to leave their mark at Penn State Hazleton. 

Based on a student’s interview, they can receive up to $2,000 in the first year at Penn State Hazleton. 

For questions about financial aid, the FAFSA, scholarships and awards at Penn State Hazleton or to schedule a visit, contact the Penn State Hazleton Admissions Office at 570-450-3142 or [email protected]. You can also register online for Admissions events like open houses or accepted student programs, a personal tour or a virtual visit.