The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia is always referred to as Penn. Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1751 the university is a private Ivy League college with a progressive outlook. Penn is a world renowned university “for the creation of and dissemination of knowledge.” Penn has its own graduate and professional schools, including the Wharton school. Although admissions to Penn are highly selective they are also need blind, meaning ones ability to pay is not a consideration.
Penn offers an excellent financial aid package to students which make it as affordable as a public college. Penn urges potential applicants to not let the published costs of attending deter them from applying as Penn’s “goal is to make a Penn education affordable to students from all family income levels.” Those awarded Penn’s financial aid package will have no need to utilize student loans and thus have the possibility of graduating without facing student loan debt.
The current cost of attending Penn is estimated at $55,250. This comprises tuition and fees of $40,514, plus room and board, books and personal expenses excluding travel. Penn is committed to meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need which is based on the difference between the cost of attending and the family and student expected contribution. In order to put financial need first Penn does not offer merit or athletic scholarships, only needs based grants and scholarships.
In determining the family contribution a number of factors are considered. These include the family size and the number of children in college, extenuating family circumstances, and the income and assets of both the parents and the student. The majority of students are expected to make a self help contribution of around $2,350 from summer earnings. This table illustrates the level of financial aid awarded in relation to family income, for the current academic year.
Penn’s financial package is comprised of federal and state grants; Penn grants and scholarships; and work study. Whilst most states only offer grants to those students attending an instate college, a number of other states also offer grants to their own state residents for attending Penn. Philadelphia residents are also eligible for the Mayor’s scholarship.
Federal grants which are awarded to low income families can be obtained by completing the FAFSA. The Penn grant is awarded to students who qualify for financial aid and comes from university funds, and University Named Scholarships are also awarded based on financial need. The remaining portion of financial need is made up of either the federal work study program or Penn work study. The latter is the same as the federal work program but awarded from Penn funds. Students have the option of replacing the work study portion of their award with student loans but are not encouraged to do so.
Students who obtain outside scholarships will still be eligible for financial aid if the outside scholarships do not meet the full costs of attending Penn. Scholarships will first replace the work study portion of financial aid and then Penn grants.
The financial aid package awarded by the University of Pennsylvania is indeed an excellent one which means that students from any financial background have an equal opportunity of attending the college. Those who thought an Ivy League education was only the preserve of the elite should think again as Penn is an affordable option with the added benefit of allowing students to graduate without the burden of student loan debt.