How much does it cost to go to Penn State?
|Cost of attending Penn State||Annual cost|
|Tuition and fees|
|Room and board||$11,280|
|Other expenses||$1,840 to $5,062|
|Total cost for the 2018–2019 academic year|
As you can see, Penn State’s tuition and cost of attendance are two different things. And if you’re an out-of-state student, you could pay up to $15,000 more to attend.
What’s the average debt load of Penn State students?
Penn State’s Class of 2016 graduated with an average debt load of $37,307, according to the Department of Education. That’s just over the national average of around $37,000 for that year. You can reduce the amount of debt you graduate with by looking into other types of financing like scholarships, grants and work-study programs first.
Does Penn State offer tuition payment plans?
Yes, Penn State has an installment payment plan, allowing students to break up their balance into four payments during the fall and spring semesters and three during the summer.
Here’s when payments are due during the 2018–2019 academic year:
|Payment||Fall semester||Spring semester|
|First payment due||August 22||January 27|
|Second payment due||September 22||February 22|
|Third payment due||October 22||March 22|
|Fourth payment due||November 22||April 22|
It costs $45 per semester to enroll, though you’re not charged interest. You can enroll online as soon as your tuition and fees show up on your student account. If you enroll after the first payment’s due date, 50% of your balance is due on the second payment date.
Top Penn State scholarships and grants
Penn State offers several scholarships and grants, though most are only available to a small group of students. Here are some of the university’s top options:
Penn State Academic Grant
|Amounts||Varies depending on your financial need|
You’ll need to meet the following eligibility criteria to qualify for the Penn State Academic Grant:
The Penn State Academic Grant is a need-based program for students whose families can’t afford to cover the cost of attendance out of pocket. Not all students are guaranteed to have their full needs met — or even receive this grant. However, all students are considered before it’s awarded.
|Amounts||$3,200 per year — renewable for up to four years|
You need to meet the following criteria to qualify for a Bunton-Waller Scholarship:
This need-based award goes to students unable to cover the cost of attendance themselves. You must file the FASFA to be considered, and the scholarship can be renewed to cover up to four years of school.
|Amounts||$1,500 per year — renewable for up to four years|
You need to meet the following eligibility criteria to qualify for the Renaissance Scholarship:
The Renaissance Scholarship is both a merit- and need-based award for high-achieving students. While it’s not enough to pay for tuition or even room and board, it could potentially cover most of your personal expenses if you qualify. You can renew it for up to four years, depending on the application.
|Amounts||$2,000 to $3,000 per academic year — may be renewable|
You must be a full-time student to qualify for a Trustee Scholarship. Other eligibility requirements depend on donor preferences.
All full-time students could be eligible for a scholarship through one of Penn State’s trustee programs. Reach out to the university’s financial aid department to find out if you’re a good fit.
|Amounts||$800 to $2,000 per academic year|
Each campus has different eligibility requirements, so contact your campus’s financial aid department to learn if you qualify and what the application process entails — if any.
Each Penn State campus has its own scholarship program for students. Awards are based on factors such as academics, standardized test scores, financial need and demonstrated leadership and community service.
Other Penn State scholarships
Here are several other Penn State scholarships and grants that could help you put a dent in your cost of attendance:
- Andrew James Bartels Memorial Scholarship
- Dolores Bush Scuderi and Richard J. Scuderi Scholarships
- Employees of Consolidated Freightways Scholarship
- Frank A. Sinon Scholarship at Penn State
- Henrietta M. Fisher Memorial Honor Scholarship Fund
- Irene Cheng Memorial Award
- Laurel Haven Endowment Scholarship
- Office of Educational Equity Scholarship
- Steve A. Garban Grant-in-Aid
- The David Schwebel Endowed Memorial Scholarship
On top of this, each college offers merit-based scholarships to its freshmen and upperclassmen. Some require an application, while others automatically consider all students. You can find out if or when you’re required to submit an application on the Penn State financial aid website.
Student loans to pay for Penn State
If you don’t qualify for enough scholarships and grants to cover your cost of attendance, student loans might be your next best option. The Department of Education and most private lenders recommend applying for federal loans before looking into private options — they’re often less expensive and more flexible.
Penn State University Loan
Can’t get enough federal funding? Your next stop might be Penn State’s University Loan. You don’t need to apply — Penn State already considers you for it after you submit the FAFSA. However, this means it’s not an option if you don’t qualify for federal aid.
Interest rates are fixed at 6% for all students — with no fees. How much you can borrow depends on your need and the availability of funds. Repayments begin nine months after you graduate or drop below half time through student loan servicer Educational Computer Systems, Inc. (ECSI).
If you need even more funding after exhausting your federal and university loan options, you might want to look into private student loans.
Compare private student loan providers
Explore your options by APR, minimum credit score, loan amount and loan term. Select the Get started button to start an application with a specific lender.
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
Penn State might not cost as much as some private colleges, but students tend to end up with a higher debt load. If you’re considering attending this university, you might want to look into outside scholarships and grants in addition to in-school funding.
Explore even more financing options with our guide to student loans.
Frequently asked questions
Does Penn State offer any military aid grants?
Not directly, though Penn State students can apply for military aid through federal programs, including:
- Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA). Members of the military can apply through GoArmyEd and mail a copy of their authorization to the Penn State bursar office.
- Post-9/11 GI Bill. Reach out to the Office of Veterans Programs at Penn State to find out if you’re eligible and get details on how to apply.
- Yellow Ribbon Program. Also reach out to the Office of Veterans Programs to learn about the application process.
Does Penn state offer athletic scholarships?
Yes, Penn State offers scholarships for 29 varsity sports to students at the University Park campus. Coaches award funding to individual student athletes.
Can I get a Penn State scholarship as an out-of-state student?
You can. Most scholarships are available to both in-state and out-of-state students — though not all. Make sure you aren’t required to be a Pennsylvania resident before you get started on an application.
More guides on Finder
How to start a photography business
From your marketing strategy to financing and insurance, we’ll walk you through how to start a career behind the lens.
Teaching kids about money: 9 ways to start
Fast-track your child’s financial literacy by learning how to teach your kids about money.
How to start a delivery business
Learn how to start a delivery business in this rapidly expanding industry.
How to move to Canada
Explore the options and programs that Canada has in place to help you move to Canada.
Work for yourself? You might qualify for a larger PPP loan
You can now calculate your payroll expenses based on gross income instead of net profit. Here’s how it works.
Best and worst states for women in the US
How states compare on employment, earnings, poverty, education, health and wellbeing.
Smallest businesses finally get a fair crack at a PPP loan. Do you qualify?
The White House announced new changes to PPP loans, helping the smallest businesses and opening access to people with student loan defaults or nonfraudulent felony convictions.
Black unemployment rates by state
Finder analyzes which states have the highest and lowest rates of employment for Black and African Americans.
NY expands COVID-19 small business loan program
Now 90% of all small businesses in New York State can qualify for NYFLF.
Ask an Expert