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The increase in financial aid grants continues to grow at a faster rate than that of tuition.

Credit: Luke Chen , Luke Chen

Penn approved a resolution to increase the total cost of attendance for undergraduates in 2016-2017 by 3.9 percent, administrators announced on Thursday.

The total cost of attendance increased from $63,526 to $66,000 for the upcoming academic year. Concurrently, Penn’s student financial aid budget also increased 3.9 percent, from $208 million to $214 million.

Tuition will increase from $43,838 to $45,556, room and board from $13,990 to $14,536 and fees from $5,698 to $5,908.

This marks the seventh consecutive year that the University has increased its cost of attendance by exactly 3.9 percent. The financial aid budget, meanwhile, has grown an average of 8 percent a year since 2004, at near twice the rate of total charges.

“Our grants are growing much faster than our total charges are growing,” Vice President of Budget and Management Analysis Bonnie Gibson said at the annual Board of Trustees Budget and Finance Committee meeting on Thursday.

At the meeting, President Amy Gutmann also emphasized the switch the University has undertaken from a loan to all-grant program since 2009.

“Financial aid has gone up double the rate of tuition and fees’ increase, and that doesn’t take into account the switch from loans to grants,” Gutmann said.

Forty-six percent of undergraduates received need-based financial aid in 2015-2016, with 71 percent of aided students receiving grants of at least $35,000. From 2008 to 2016, there has been a 36 percent increase in the number of freshmen receiving financial aid.

The University reported that almost two-thirds of undergraduates graduated debt-free in 2015. Of the 816 undergraduates who did graduate with debt in 2015, the average loan taken out was $18,900. The amount of aided students that take out loans has decreased from 79 percent in 2008 to 51 percent in 2015.

In accordance to the Penn Compact 2020 presidential initiatives, the University will seek to increase financial aid funding even more in the upcoming years, with a total goal of $1 billion fundraised from 2005 to 2020.

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