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The financial aid budget for fiscal year 2016 is the largest in University history.

The budget, which took effect on July 1, 2015, allocates $206 million to undergraduate financial aid, an increase of $7.9 million, or four percent, from the projected 2015 forecast.  

“The undergraduate financial aid budget is set each year based on the projected number of aided students and average granted. However, the University meets the needs of each student, even if the actual costs exceed budget," Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli said.

President Amy Gutmann’s 12-year presidency has seen an undergraduate budget growth of 161 percent, representing a total growth rate of 8.3 percent each year. The financial aid budget has risen at a much faster rate than the rate of tuition growth, Carnaroli said.

“Providing the financial support to full time traditional undergraduate students enrolled in the four undergraduate schools to help achieve their educational goals is one of Dr. Gutmann’s top priorities,” he said.

Senior administrators, including the president, provost and the executive vice president, oversee Penn’s budget. Together, they develop the budget through establishing spending limitations across the University. The salary pool, employee benefits and rates and endowment spending are just a few of the limitations that are taken into consideration.

Once the senior administrators develop the budget, they then present it to the trustees for approval. After the limitations are provided to each school in the University, they are able to complete their individual budgets.

Penn’s aid program, which provides grants-based aid awards for eligible undergraduates, is the largest out of any U.S. university, and Penn has increased its grant-aided package to undergraduates annually for the past decade. During their educations at Penn, about one-third of undergraduates borrow at one point or another.

As part of the Penn Impact 2020 initiative, the University aims to raise $600 million for undergraduate financial aid. Currently, the University needs to raise $240 million more to reach its goal. The initiative also aims to raise $400 million for graduate student aid over the same period, for a total fundraising target of more than $1 billion for financial aid.

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