Penn Trustees approve 2020-21 tuition; financial aid budget expands support for middle-income families

University of Pennsylvania College Hall

At its meeting today, the University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees approved a 3.9% increase in tuition for the coming year, while also approving a record $256 million undergraduate financial aid budget, the largest financial aid budget in Penn’s history.

Since Amy Gutmann became Penn’s president in 2004, increasing the financial aid budget has been a top priority, with the University awarding more than $2 billion in undergraduate aid to more than 22,000 students.

Penn administrators also announced that, as part of a new initiative to expand aid for middle-income families in 2020-2021, students with household incomes of up to $140,000 a year (with typical assets) will receive financial aid packages covering the cost of tuition.

“The University is constantly seeking out new opportunities to increase access and affordability for families at all income levels,” said MaryFrances McCourt, vice president for finance and treasurer. “Our steadfast commitment is to meet 100% of a student’s demonstrated need with grants and work-study funding, and average financial aid packages for low- and middle-income families go well beyond tuition.”

To maintain Penn’s world-class academic programs, campus, and student services, undergraduate student charges for 2020-2021 are: $53,166 for tuition, $6,876 for fees, $11,014 for housing, and $5,770 for dining.

“A measured increase in tuition makes it possible to invest in the resources and programs that make a Penn education the best in the world, while simultaneously maintaining a robust and growing undergraduate aid budget,” said Trevor Lewis, vice president for budget planning and analysis.

Penn’s financial aid program supports its philosophy that a world-class education should be attainable for talented students from all financial backgrounds. Currently, 45% of Penn’s undergraduate students receive grant-based financial aid packages, with an average of $56,693 in funding—more than the cost of tuition. Students whose families have incomes less than $65,500 (with typical assets) receive financial aid packages that cover tuition, fees, room, and board. New programming launched last year for these highly-aided students includes first-year laptop grants and access to summer internship and research opportunity funding.

The University’s student resources extend beyond financial aid. This January, Penn launched Financial Wellness @ Penn, an initiative that aims to enhance students’ financial well-being by providing personal finance education, tools, and resources.

“All students, regardless of their level of financial need, can benefit from core financial literacy education,” said McCourt. “We are empowering students with the information they need to make important financial decisions and plan for their financial futures.”

Since establishing a grant-based financial aid program in 2008, Penn has increased its financial aid budget by more than 150%. Over the past five years, the budget for financial aid has expanded at an average rate of 4.1%, greater than the rate of tuition. Today, Penn is the largest U.S. university with need-blind admission and grant-based financial aid for undergraduates.

Penn’s grant-based financial aid 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 as well as graduate and professional student aid.

Additional information on undergraduate financial aid at Penn is available at