HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) Governor Tom Wolf‘s Nellie Bly scholarship program is set to provide financial assistance to help at least 44,000 students attend college.

The program provides full-time scholarships to full-time undergraduate students at 14 universities within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). This applies to students who have a household income under $104,800.

The scholarship is named after Nellie Bly, an Armstrong County native born in 1864 who went on to attend the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (then called the Indiana Normal School) but had to leave due to the cost. Bly went on to become a pioneering journalist in the early 20th century, embarking on a trip around the world in 72 days.

Scholarship funds cover tuition and fees not covered by pell and Pennsylvania state grants. To receive the scholarship, the students agree to stay in Pennsylvania after graduation for the same number of years for which they receive the benefit. Otherwise, the scholarship becomes a low-interest loan.

“Our country has a student loan debt crisis and it’s a burden that lasts for years and holds young people back from starting a family, buying a home and saving for retirement,” Gov. Wolf said. “I am proposing the Nellie Bly Scholarship Program to help college students build lives in their communities rather than struggling to pay student loan bills every month.”


According to the governor’s office, the student loan debt for Pennsylvania residents is $68 billion, among the highest in the nation. The average loan amount per student in Pennsylvania is over $39,000, according to the Wolf administration.

The funding for this scholarship comes from repurposing $199 million in slot machine revenue that is currently directed to the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Trust Fund. Within the racehorse trust fund, 80% of the revenue goes to purses for horse owners, many of whom are from other states or countries, according to the Wolf administration.

Here are the 14 universities where students could be eligible for the scholarship:

  • Bloomsburg University
  • California University of Pennsylvania
  • Cheyney University
  • Clarion University
  • East Stroudsburg University
  • Edinboro University
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Kutztown University
  • Lock Haven University
  • Mansfield University
  • Millersville University
  • Shippensburg University
  • Slippery Rock University
  • West Chester University