New fiscal year sees largest financial aid budget in University history

The budget allocates $197 million to undergraduate financial aid

· July 8, 2014, 10:11 pm   ·  Updated July 10, 2014, 9:58 am

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Luke Chen | DP


Penn’s budget for the 2015 fiscal year includes the largest financial aid budget in the University's history.

Allocating $197 million toward undergraduate financial aid, the recently enacted budget — which took effect July 1 and will terminate with the fiscal year on June 30, 2015 — saw a 4.5 percent increase in undergraduate financial aid.

"The overall financial aid budget has increased by 4 percent to $444 million," Vice President of Budget and Management Analysis Bonnie Gibson said, adding that the $197 allocated to undergraduate financial aid is a 4.5 percent increase compared to the 2014 fiscal year and a 150 percent increase since 2004.

According to the budget overview released by the Office of Budget and Management Analysis, Penn is "one of fewer than 50 private institutions in the United States maintaining a need-blind admissions policy while upholding its commitment to meet full demonstrated need with the all-grant, no-loan packages."

Penn has seen a marked increase in financial need, with the number of grant-aided undergraduates growing by 30 percent since the 2008 fiscal year.

The graduate and professional financial aid budget for this fiscal year totals $155 million, with an additional $92 million budgeted as stipend support.

Tuition and fees are budgeted to increase by 3.9 percent to $47,668. This is the sixth consecutive year that the increase has been below 4 percent. According to the budget overview, peer institutions report tuition and fee increases ranging from 2.9 percent to 4.3 percent, placing Penn within the range.

Salaries are forecasted to increase by 3.6 percent in the 2015 fiscal year.

Compensation comprises slightly over half of Penn's total expenditures in the academic budget, and student aid represents 11 percent. A projected 36 percent of revenue for the 2015 fiscal year is expected to come from tuition and fees.

“The 2015 Fiscal Year Operating Budget demonstrates Penn’s commitment to managing growth while continuing to invest in our faculty, students, staff and campus infrastructure," Gibson said.

While financial aid continues to rise, sponsored research funding expenditures — which comprises close to 30 percent of the total budgeted expenditures — are budgeted to decline for the fourth consecutive year while non-research grows.

Gibson said that the modest decrease in research funding can be explained by decreases in funding by the federal government.

Following the recession in 2008, the federal government issued stimulus funding, allocating the University millions of dollars for research support. Now, the cessation of those funds has contributed to the decline in research expenditures.   Additionally, Gibson said that the federal government is not contributing as much funding to base research programs — such as the National Institutes of Health — as in past years.

Penn's budget for the 2015 fiscal year includes a projected $7.1 billion in expenditures, split 55 percent to 45 percent between the Health System and the academic budget, respectively.

Overall, expenditures are projected to increase by 6.5 percent.

In the 2015 fiscal year, gift revenues are projected to increase by 7.3 percent compared with the 2014 fiscal year, most of which is expected to come from higher capital gifts. Investment income is budgeted to increase by 10.1 percent compared to the previous year.

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