Penn Announces 2016-17 Financial-aid Budget, Tuition

The University of Pennsylvania announced today that it has authorized a $214 million financial-aid budget for 2016-17 — the largest in the University’s history — while increasing total undergraduate charges by 3.9 percent.

This represents the eighth consecutive year that Penn has kept its tuition growth under 4 percent. Since Amy Gutmann became Penn’s president in 2004, Penn’s financial-aid budget has now grown by 171 percent, averaging 8 percent per year, close to twice the average annual growth in total charges through FY17.

“Penn’s all-grant policy is one of our highest evergreen priorities,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “Since we first implemented the program in 2008, Penn has awarded nearly $1 billion in grants, providing access to Penn’s Ivy League education to exceptional young women and men with extraordinary promise from all backgrounds. Ensuring a Penn education while reducing the burden of debt for students from a range of social and economic circumstances is fundamental to Penn’s mission.

“Access to a high quality higher education is the single greatest gateway to economic opportunity. As the first in my family to attend college, I know the indelible, transformative impact that a college education can have. By eliminating financial barriers to be able to attend the University of Pennsylvania and by reducing the burden of debt, Penn’s all-grant program is making a Penn education possible for thousands of students and their families.”

Total undergraduate charges for 2016-17 — tuition, fees and room and board — will increase by 3.9 percent. Undergraduate tuition will increase to $45,556 from $43,838; room and board will increase to $14,536 from $13,990; and fees will increase to $5,908 from $5,698. Tuition and fees cover only 70 percent of the direct cost of delivering a Penn education.

As a result of Penn's all-grant financial aid program, the average net cost for aided students to attend Penn today is almost $2,700 less than it was in 2005 in constant 2005 dollars.

Penn has substituted grants for loans in undergraduate financial aid packages since 2009. Next year, the average grant for students is estimated at $45,000. These grants do not require repayment.

This academic year 46 percent of Penn’s undergraduate students received need-based grants from the University. Most undergraduates from families with incomes of less than $180,000 are receiving grant assistance, and the typical student with family income of less than $40,000 receives grant aid that covers full tuition and fees, and room and board.

With 10,400 undergraduates, Penn is the largest school in the nation to offer an all-grant financial aid program for undergraduates.

Penn’s all-grant financial aid initiative supports the University’s long-standing commitment to its need-blind admissions policy, which means students are accepted based on academic achievement, regardless of their ability to pay. The program has helped to reduce the number of Penn students borrowing. Today, nearly two-thirds of Penn undergraduates graduate debt free. 

Penn’s all-grant 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. In support of this initiative, President Gutmann announced the “Penn Impact 2020” plan, which includes a goal of raising one billion dollars for student financial aid from 2005 to 2020, comprised of a $600 million goal for undergraduate financial aid and a $400 million goal for graduate and professional student aid.

Additional information on undergraduate financial aid at Penn is available at