Penn’s 2011-12 Financial Aid Budget at Its Highest; Undergrad Tuition Hike Second Lowest in 43 Years

PHILADELPHIA -- The University of Pennsylvania today announced its second-smallest tuition increase in 43 years -– 3.9 percent -– while reaffirming its commitment to its no-loan financial-aid program. Penn will expand its financial-aid budget for the coming year by $10.7 million, or 7.7 percent, to $161 million.

Increasing access for undergraduate students is one of President Amy Gutmann’s top priorities; the University has increased its financial-aid budget by 104 percent since she became president in 2004.

"At Penn, nothing stands in the way of providing educational opportunities to the most gifted young women and men,” Gutmann said.  “We promise all admitted students who qualify for financial aid that they will be able to attend without loans.  Especially in these challenging economic times, we want prospective students and their families to know that Penn seeks the most outstanding students, regardless of their financial situation.”

Penn has substituted grants for loans for all aid-eligible undergraduates since 2009. Next year, the net price for first-year undergraduate students will actually be less than it was in 2004, with the average grant for students estimated at $36,250. In 2010-11, the number of undergraduates receiving financial aid increased by nearly 5 percent, and aid expenditures grew by 14.3 percent.  

Total undergraduate charges for 2011-2012 -- tuition, fees and room and board –- will increase by 3.9 percent. Undergraduate tuition will increase to $37,620 from $36,208; room and board will increase to $11,878 from $11,430; and fees will increase to $4,478 from $4,306. Tuition and fees cover 70 percent of the direct cost of delivering a Penn education.

The Budget and Finance Committee of Penn’s Board of Trustees approved the tuition increase today.

This year, more than 42 percent of Penn’s undergraduate students received need-based grants from Penn. Most undergraduates from families with incomes of less than $175,000 are receiving grant assistance, and the typical student with family income of less than $40,000 receives grant aid that covers full tuition, room and board.

Throughout the current recession, as increasing numbers of students have required financial assistance, Penn has maintained its commitment to meeting full needs with no-loan packages.

Penn is one of fewer than 50 private institutions in the United States that both admit academically qualified students without regard to their families' ability to pay and meet the determined full need of all undergraduates. Of the other colleges and universities with no-loan financial-aid policies for undergraduates, Penn has the largest undergraduate enrollment at nearly 10,400.

Increasing educational access remains a priority of Penn’s historic $3.5 billion Making History campaign, which has raised $3 billion to date. The campaign includes a fundraising goal of $350 million for undergraduate student aid and another $323 million for graduate and professional student aid.

Additional information on undergraduate financial aid at Penn is available at