The University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees approved a record $237 million financial aid budget, an increase of 5.25 percent and the largest financial aid budget in Penn’s history, along with a 3.8 percent tuition increase, the lowest in nine years.
Since Amy Gutmann became Penn’s president in 2004, raising the financial aid budget has been a top priority, with the University awarding more than $2 billion in undergraduate aid to nearly 18,000 students.
“My college experience forever changed my life and as the first in my family to attend college I understand the tremendous value and transformative impact that affordable access to high-quality higher education can have,” said President Gutmann. “It is the founding principle of Penn’s grant-based financial aid program for undergraduates established ten years ago.
“Today Penn is the largest U.S. university with need-blind admission and grant-based financial aid for undergraduates. One in eight Penn students from the Class of 2021 represent the first generation in their family to attend college, and students who are first-gen or high-financial-need are now more than a quarter of the class. We are committed to doing all we can to make Penn’s Ivy League education more accessible and affordable to students with the greatest promise from all backgrounds,” she said.
Penn bridges the gap between the cost of attendance and a family’s financial need by providing its students a financial aid package based on grants and work-study funding. These grants do not require repayment and are comprised of Penn’s own funds, endowments, federal and state grants, and work-study funding. This program is designed to ensure that a family’s financial circumstance does not prevent qualified students from attending. Currently, 46 percent of Penn’s undergraduate students receive grant-based financial aid packages, with an average grant of $47,275 and $50,348 when including work-study.
To maintain Penn’s world-class academic programs, campus and student services, undergraduate student charges for 2018-2019 will increase by 3.8 percent and include $49,220 for tuition, $6,364 for fees, $10,200 for housing and $5,416 for dining.
“This announcement reaffirms Penn’s commitment to educational accessibility and affordability through our need-blind admission policy and grant-based financial aid program,” said MaryFrances McCourt, treasurer and vice president for finance “Penn’s financial aid program treats each student as an individual, taking into account personal and family finances, as well as any special circumstances. Penn continues to meet a student’s demonstrated financial need each year, increasing aid to reflect any increasing costs to the eligible student.”
Since establishing a grant-based financial aid program ten years ago, Penn has increased its financial aid budget by 134 percent, averaging an eight percent growth annually. Students whose combined family income and assets are less than $65,500 do not pay tuition, room or board because Penn’s combination of grants and work-study funding covers those costs.
Penn’s grant-based financial aid program is aligned with the inclusion goals outlined in the Penn Compact 2020 Presidential Initiatives, which include a comprehensive effort to raise additional funding for the endowment to support undergraduate financial aid as well as graduate and professional student aid.