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Expanding Financial Aid Program to Eliminate Loans:
Improves Affordability for Penn’s Undergraduate Program
December 18, 2007, Volume 54, No. 16

Today we are announcing a far reaching new financial aid initiative that will eliminate loans for financially eligible undergraduate students regardless of family income, making it possible for students from a broad range of economic backgrounds to graduate debt-free.

Penn’s new program is the latest step in our efforts to widen access for students from all economic backgrounds, by expanding our no-loan program from low- and lower-middle income families to include middle- and upper-middle income families.

This new program will begin in September 2008, and include all eligible undergraduates, not just entering freshmen. Effective that year, students with calculated family incomes under $100,000 will receive loan-free aid packages, while families above that level will receive a 10 percent reduction in need-based loans.

By fall 2009, all undergraduate students eligible for financial aid will receive loan-free aid packages, regardless of family income level.

This is a transformative moment for higher education and for Penn.  Making a Penn education accessible to students from the broadest array of economic backgrounds possible is fundamental to our mission. Our nation’s young scholars should not be deterred from pursuing their dreams for fear of being a financial burden to their families.

We began our commitment to increasing access by addressing the needs of low-income and lower middle-income families. We are now responding to the needs of middle and upper middle-income families, who have carried the greatest debt burden. We are sending a clear message to them that Penn is committed to supporting them as they seek to provide the best educational opportunities for their children.

We proudly join with a handful of other selective colleges and universities in eliminating loans from financial aid packages and, of those, we have the largest undergraduate enrollment.

We are fortunate to be launching our new initiative just months after announcing the Campaign for Penn, which has set a $350 million goal for undergraduate financial aid endowment that will be used to finance this new program.

This new initiative expands our long-standing commitment to need-blind admissions, which means students are accepted based on academic achievement, regardless of their ability to pay. Fewer than 50 private institutions across the nation have need-blind admissions policies and even fewer have financial aid based exclusively on need.

I also want to take this moment to thank each and every member of our extended Penn family for everything you do to help make Penn the place where revolutionary ideas, passionate people, and practical pursuits come together to make the most positive difference in our world.

Happy Holidays!

You can find more information about this new program at www.upenn.edu/pennnews/.

—Amy Gutmann, President


Almanac - December 18, 2007, Volume 54, No. 16