Student Aid and Scholarships
Each year, Penn State enrolls many outstanding and academically talented students. Approximately one in four of our undergraduates receive a University scholarship. Awards vary and are determined by donor guidelines on the basis of merit, financial need, or a combination, as defined by the specific scholarship program. Typical scholarship awards can range from $1,500 per year to $5,000 per year, however, the average value usually does not exceed $2,500. Approximately one in four of our undergraduates receive a University scholarship.
A limited number of scholarships with eligibility based upon need, merit, or a combination of the two may be available through Penn State's Office of Student Aid, academic colleges, individual campuses, or other administrative units.
Students should research available scholarships through their campus or their academic college.
Many students receive private scholarships through external organizations that provide funding. Review additional information on where to search for external scholarship opportunities.
External scholarship opportunities are also posted on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.
Federal and State Student Aid Programs
Scholarships are only one of the resources families can pursue to assist in funding their student's education. Penn State also 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 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 until all funds are exhausted. Program regulations limit the University’s ability to make exceptions to the eligibility criteria.
Federal Student and Parent Loans
Education loans are the primary source of student aid at Penn State. Each year, the majority of Penn State undergraduate students receives a loan to help pay for their education.
For most students, federal education loans may be the only form of assistance available. Besides the loans available to students, parents who request additional assistance will be directed to consider the Parent PLUS Loan Program. Parents who qualify for this program can borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any aid to their student.
To provide additional assistance for families in managing the payment of tuition and other costs each semester, Penn State offers an installment payment plan which may be helpful:
- The Installment Payment Plan allows payments in installments over four months
Funding Your Education
Undergraduate enrollment across all Penn State campuses exceeds 70,000 a year and while Penn State continues to build its scholarship endowment, available funds do not yet reach all deserving students. Therefore, we encourage you to devise a financial plan for this important investment.
For additional help in planning your finances, you may want to consult the following resources:
- Financial Literacy
- Penn State's Cost Calculators
- Interactive Loan Worksheet
- Payment Plans
- My Smart Borrowing
Please recognize scholarship funds are limited and Penn State cannot guarantee an award to every student who may rank at or near the top of their class. While Penn State is not able to negotiate student aid packages to match grant and scholarship offers from other colleges and universities, we are more than happy to discuss the above mentioned aid opportunities and what funding options might work best for your family.