The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Tuition and fees are set to increase by 4.5 percent next year - the smallest annual increase Penn has seen in the last seven years - bringing the price of an undergraduate academic year to $37,526.

According to a March 18 press release, University trustees met last week to determine the tuition increase for the coming academic year. They also revisited the plan announced last December to offer loan-free financial aid packages in an attempt to increase the low and middle-income applicant pool.

With added room and board costs also increasing by 4.1 percent in 2008-09, the total annual undergraduate cost will be $48,148. The overall increase in price - taking room and board into account - is also the lowest increase seen in seven years.

"Penn's senior leadership . works very hard to manage the increase in tuition and fees," said Bonnie Gibson, vice president of Budget and Management Analysis. "Penn . has consistently increased tuition at rates lower than the national average for private universities."

The increase in tuition is necessary to support campus renovations and public safety infrastructure, as well to fund educational programs and attract faculty.

"Our tuition and fee increases help support ongoing expenses and contribute towards the improvements and enhancements we have come to take for granted," Gibson said.

Penn president Amy Gutmann emphasized that the financial aid portion of last week's announcement is especially helpful to low and middle-income students, which, she said, are underrepresented in enrollment at many of the nation's most selective public and private universities.

"It is our responsibility to ensure that we help educate future generations of leaders, regardless of economic background," she added.

Officials said that the financial aid improvements, although announced months ago, were still a key highlight of last week's meeting and the subsequent press release.

"It was the perfect opportunity to recast the initiative," Student Financial Aid director Bill Schilling said. "Any time we talk about cost and price, we always talk about financial aid since it's an integral part of the price for those students that have financial need."

A student from a family with an income of less than $90,000 will no longer pay tuition once the improvements set in. Additionally, a student from a family with an income of less than $40,000 will not be expected to pay tuition, room or board.

Despite the increase in tuition costs, University trustees said these generous financial aid offerings in the coming years will ensure that Penn is affordable.

"The University's trustees are absolutely committed to assuring such families that they can afford Penn," Board of Trustees chairman James Riepe said in the press release.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.