Financial aid is awarded on the basis of financial need, which is the difference between Penn’s cost of attendance and the amount your family is expected to pay (your expected family contribution). Penn’s cost of attendance includes both direct costs that appear on your student bill such as tuition, fees, housing, and dining, and indirect costs that are not billed by Penn, such as books and supplies, transportation, and an allowance for personal expenses.
Cost of attendance - Expected family contribution = Financial need
Penn's Office of Student Financial Services individually reviews each family’s financial aid application and parent and student tax returns. The following items are also considered:
- family size
- student income and assets
- parents’ income and assets (including home equity but not retirement accounts)
- the number of children enrolled in college
- extenuating family circumstances (such as loss of employment or illness)
Generally, financial information from both parents is used to determine financial need, even if they are divorced or separated.
Penn’s financial aid package includes grants and a work-study job. Unlike many universities, Penn does not include student loans in financial aid packages. Even though Penn aid packages do not include loans, parents and students may still choose to borrow from federal or alternative educational loan programs to help meet their expected family contribution.
Because each family’s situation is unique, it’s difficult to predict how much aid you will receive until we carefully review your aid application. These case studies provide a general sense of how aid packages work for families with a variety of financial situations and how our financial aid assistance makes an Ivy League education accessible.
The Office of Student Financial Services stands ready to help you and your family navigate this process. Please use the following links to connect directly to those resources:
SFS parents: Visit the Student Registration and Financial Services Parent corner
Contact SFS: Communicate directly with Student Financial Services
Grant-Based Aid Program: Understand Penn’s grant-based financial aid policy
Estimate Your Costs: Estimate your Penn financial aid award before you apply