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Penn's Undergraduate Tuition Increase for 2012-2013: 3.9%

February 21, 2012, Volume 58, No. 23

The University of Pennsylvania reaffirmed its commitment to an all-grant, no-loan financial-aid program at last Friday's meeting of the Board of Trustees as they authorized a $181 million financial-aid budget for 2012-2013 while increasing total undergraduate charges by 3.9%, the second lowest in 44 years.

Increasing access for undergraduate students is one of Penn President Amy Gutmann's top priorities, and this year's financial-aid budget reflects an increase of $13 million, or 7.7%, over 2011-2012. Since Dr. Gutmann took office in 2004, Penn's financial-aid budget has grown by 129%, averaging 9.9% per year, more than twice the average annual growth in total charges.  

"We want to enable students to make career and life decisions based on their interests, talents, and passion—not on whether they'll make enough money to pay off their student debt," Dr. Gutmann said. "We promise all admitted students who qualify for financial aid that they will be able to attend without loans. Especially in these challenging economic times, we want prospective students and their families to know that Penn is affordable to them."

As a result of Penn's innovative financial-aid program, the average net cost for aided students to attend Penn today is less than it was in 2004.

Penn has substituted grants for loans for all aid-eligible undergraduates since 2009. Next year, the average grant for students is estimated at $38,250. In 2011-2012, the number of undergraduates receiving financial aid increased by 2.5%, and University aid expenditures grew by 8.7%.  

Total undergraduate charges for 2012-2013 —tuition, fees and room and board—will increase by 3.9%. Undergraduate tuition will increase to $39,088 from $37,620; room and board will increase to $12,368 from $11,878; and fees will increase to $4,650 from $4,478. Tuition and fees cover 70% of the direct cost of delivering a Penn education. This is the fourth consecutive year that Penn has kept its tuition growth under 4.0%.

This year, almost 45% of Penn's undergraduate students received need-based grants from the University. Most undergraduates from families with incomes of less than $175,000 are receiving grant assistance, and the typical student with family income of less than $40,000 receives grant aid that covers full tuition, room and board.

Over the past several years, as increasing numbers of students have required financial assistance, Penn has maintained its commitment to meeting full need with no-loan packages.

Penn is one of fewer than 50 private institutions in the United States that admit academically qualified students without regard to their families' ability to pay while also meeting the determined full need of all undergraduates. Of the other colleges and universities with no-loan financial-aid policies for undergraduates, Penn has the largest undergraduate enrollment at 10,300.

Increasing educational access remains a priority of Penn's historic $3.5 billion Making History campaign, which has raised more than $3.5 billion to date. The campaign includes a fundraising goal of $350 million for undergraduate student aid and another $323 million for graduate and professional student aid.

Additional information on undergraduate financial aid at Penn is available at www.sfs.upenn.edu/paying/paying-pro.htm

Almanac - February 21, 2012, Volume 58, No. 23