Student Aid and Scholarships
The Office of Student Aid, the University's academic colleges, and the Penn State Commonwealth Campuses offer a variety of scholarships to eligible students. Eligibility for the awards varies and is typically determined based on merit, financial need, or a combination, as defined by the specific scholarship program. Typical scholarship awards may range from $1,500 per year to $7,000 per year, with an average value of $2,500. Students may be identified and selected to receive a particular scholarship on the basis of their prior or current academic performance, other accomplishments, or financial need.
Students should also research available scholarships through their campus or college of academic enrollment. All of these scholarships are competitive as each year Penn State enrolls many outstanding academically talented students who qualify for these awards. We encourage you to complete your admission application and Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) early in order to receive full consideration for all available scholarships.
In addition to university scholarships, we encourage you to explore and apply for scholarships through external organizations and other private funding sources. Additional guidance and information on where to search for outside scholarships can be accessed through external scholarship opportunities.
Federal and State Student Aid Programs
Penn State participates in the major federal and state grant, loan and work-study programs. These funding sources make up the majority of all student aid funding with education loans being the largest program. Eligibility is determined based on information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Student aid funds are awarded based on each applicant’s relative financial need.
Grants, such as the Federal Pell Grant or the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) program for PA residents, are applied to meet tuition and other direct expenses and do not require repayment. Federal Work Study funding is earned through campus-based jobs and is received via paycheck for hours worked.
Federal student loan programs offer students the most affordable loans through competitive interest rates and repayment is deferred until after graduation. In addition to the loans available to students themselves, parents who request further assistance may consider the Federal Parent PLUS Loan Program. Parents who qualify for this program can borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any aid that is available to their student.
Funding Your Education
As a public university, Penn State relies on state appropriations funding to help manage the cost of tuition. While the University continues to build its scholarship endowment, with an undergraduate enrollment across Penn State campuses that exceeds 70,000 annually, available funds do not yet reach all deserving students.
Even though student aid, including education loans, can help defray some of the costs incurred in earning a college degree, students and their parents will bear a significant responsibility for paying the necessary educational expenses. Therefore, we encourage that a financial plan be developed in order to make this important investment, and to assist in determining the level of education loan debt that both student and parents are willing to incur to acquire a Penn State education.
To provide additional assistance for families to manage tuition and other costs, Penn State offers an installment payment plan to spread the payments over several months of each semester.
Penn State's Sokolov-Miller Family Financial and Life Skills Center offers a variety of online self-study modules to help with making informed decisions about money management. These and other financial planning resources include:
- Financial and Life Skills Center
- Penn State's Cost Calculators
- Our Loan Worksheet
- Payment Plans
- My Smart Borrowing
The Office of Student Aid is committed to working with students and their families to determine the funding options that might work best in making a Penn State education possible.