Increase in Total Student Charges, Undergraduate Tuition Lowest in Three Decades at the University of Pennsylvania

Thursday, March 18, 1999

PHILADELPHIA - Total student charges at the University of Pennsylvania will increase 3.7 percent for the 1999-2000 academic year, the lowest percentage increase in more than three decades, according to an announcement today (March 18) by President Judith Rodin.

She said that tuition and fees for undergraduate students will increase 4.2 percent, from $23,254 to $24,230; average room and board will increase 2.2 percent, from $7,206 to $7,362. Total student charges will increase 3.7 percent, from $30,460 to $31,592.

"This maintains our commitment to limit the rate of increase for both tuition and total student charges for our undergraduates at Penn," Dr. Rodin said, adding that the 3.7 percent increase in total student charges is slightly below last year's growth rate for per capita personal income, which was about 4.1 percent across the nation.

She said that total student charges at Penn for the 1999-2000 academic year are expected to be the lowest in the Ivy League, based on charges already announced at Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton and Yale as well as those anticipated at Columbia.

Dr. Rodin said that with the active support of the trustees, Penn "is able to maintain its need-blind admission policy," continuing to provide financial aid packages to those students who demonstrate need throughout their undergraduate experience.

She said that Penn's undergraduate, need-based grant budget for the 1999-2000 academic year will exceed the $55 million budgeted this year, reflecting the University's commitment to enrolling the most talented students without regard to their financial circumstances. More than 40 percent of the undergraduate student body at Penn received grant support from the University in 1998-99.

Dr. Rodin said that the trustees "are resolutely committed" to Penn's campaign to raise $200 million to further enhance Penn's endowment for undergraduate financial aid, one of the goals of Agenda for Excellence, the University's strategic plan. She said that more than $73 million has been raised to date in the campaign due to the leadership of P. Roy Vagelos, M.D., chairman of the Board of Trustees and former chairman of Merck & Company, Inc., who has made building the endowment for undergraduate financial aid his personal priority.

Dr. Rodin said that Penn has received 17,649 applications for undergraduate admission for the class of 2003, an increase of 6.3 percent over the 16,658 applicants a year ago.

"There is no question that prospective students and their parents are responding very positively to the scope and breadth of the educational opportunities afforded undergraduate students at Penn," Dr. Rodin said. "And our applicant pool is exceedingly broad-based." She said that extraordinary students, from throughout the United States and around the world, are applying to Penn in record numbers.

She said that with the support of trustees several new financial aid initiatives have been instituted at Penn to maintain the University's financial aid program as one of the largest and most competitive in the country.

"The trustees," she said, "continue to send a very clear, strong and positive message to present and future Penn students: This institution will continue to recruit and enroll the finest students, and no student will need to decline the opportunity to participate in and benefit from the Penn experience for financial reasons."

Financial aid initiatives include the following:

  • "Trustee Scholarships" for the most academically gifted students with demonstrated financial need. Trustee Scholars receive financial aid packages that contain no loan component; grants and work-study opportunities cover the full amount of the students' demonstrated need. More than 90 Trustee Scholars are enrolled at Penn in the current academic year, with an estimated commitment of more than $6.5 million for their financial aid throughout their four undergraduate years.  
  • "Mayor's Scholarships" for exceptionally-gifted students from public, private and Archdiocesan high schools in Philadelphia, with demonstrated financial need. Mayor's Scholars receive financial aid packages that contain no loan component; grants and work-study opportunities cover the full amount of the students' demonstrated need. The 145 Mayor's Scholars at Penn include 43 freshmen this year, who are enrolled with an estimated commitment of about $4 million throughout their four undergraduate years.  
  • "Annenberg Scholarships" for exceptional students with outstanding leadership potential and demonstrated financial need. Annenberg Scholars receive "strong, highly-competitive" financial aid packages, including the maximum grant award possible. Note: This program, made possible through the generosity of the Hon. Walter H. Annenberg and his wife, the Hon. Leonore Annenberg, will begin with Annenberg Scholars in the class of 2003.
  • "Leadership Grants" for exceptional students who have shown "impressive" leadership skills in high school, and who have demonstrated financial need. Leadership Grants are financial aid packages that contain no loan component; grants and work-study opportunities cover the full amount of the students' demonstrated need. Students eligible for Leadership Grants have demonstrated leadership through excellence in the performing or visual arts, athletics, community service, student government or other, similar activities, and have maintained strong academic records.  

"We are holding the line on our costs, and we are maintaining our financial aid program as one of the nation's best," Dr. Rodin said, adding that both work to make possible a commitment "to continue to keep Penn's doors open to the nation's most qualified students."