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Next time you’re in class; at Smokes; at a Shabbatones, Atma or Mask & Wig show; or while you’re rocking out to Ratatat at Spring Fling — look to your left. Then look to your right. Then imagine if one of those people weren’t at Penn. Because if it weren’t for the Penn Fund, chances are that he or she wouldn’t be.

The majority of gifts to the Penn Fund support financial aid, which about half of our classmates rely on — a number that, when you think about it, is stunning and unknown to most Penn students. At Seniors for The Penn Fund, our main goal is to promote the habit of giving by encouraging contributions at any level.

We understand why some students have problems with this. “But my parents already pay $50,000 a year for me to come here” or “I’ll do it once I have a job.” But consider this — even if you or your parents pay full tuition for you to come here, that price only covers 70 percent of the cost of your education. Without the Penn Fund and other sources, that $50,000 tuition would really be $71,000 per year.

Staggering and shocking, no doubt. But what is remarkable is that alumni, friends and — most importantly — many generations of seniors, have come together to subsidize our education through loyal support of the Penn Fund every year. And for those who do receive financial assistance, Penn’s new grant program ensures that we will graduate free of debt.

Giving now creates a habit, is one way of saying thanks to prior Penn seniors and alumni and puts forward the same gift that we received to a future generation.

Look, we’re not going to ask you to put your name on a building until 2016 at the earliest. But by coming together as a class now, we’ll get our peers and ourselves in gear for a lifetime of making a difference through giving.

Many of you reading this have taken Psychology 001 by now, so we’ll spare you the discussion of the “foot-in-the-door” approach. Be a Highba’11er and check out our website — — to make your gift to Penn and be a part of the tradition.

Jessica Heidenberg, Jordan Levine, Deepak Prabhakar and Kevin Vichyastit are co-chairs of Seniors for the Penn Fund. Coordinator Dennie Zastrow can be contacted at

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