Penn First Plus recently received an $18 million donation to support first-generation and low-income students. The donation from 1999 Wharton graduate Scott Shleifer and his wife Elena was announced last Wednesday.
Almost 20% of undergraduate students benefit from the Penn First Plus program, which was launched in 2018 by President Amy Gutmann with the goal of ensuring that every student has equal access to Penn's resources. The P1P office is located in College Hall and will now be called the Shleifer Family Penn First Plus Center.
"As a scholarship recipient myself, I know how significantly student aid changes lives," Gutmann told Penn Today. "I also know that tuition support alone is often not enough. This gift will enable our University to foster an even more welcoming and inclusive learning environment to prepare all Penn students for successful lives."
The donation will play an important role in expanding the financial aid of Penn students which is an essential part of the P1P program. Approximately 50% of Penn’s undergraduate population receive need-based financial aid and 10% of those students are considered highly aided, meaning their financial aid packages cover certain needs including laptops, holiday break meals and travel, emergency grants, and funds for internships and academic programs, according to Penn Today.
P1P Executive Director Marc Lo and Faculty Directors Camille Charles and Robert Ghrist also advise the Pre-Freshman Program, which provides students an introduction to Penn's campus life and academics during four weeks in the summer, Penn Today reported.
Since its implementation, the Penn First Plus program has also implemented faculty and staff training programs on how to better understand the backgrounds of FGLI students and developed a website to centralize all FGLI resources. The peer faculty training hosted by Penn First Plus covers college transition, promoting academic success, and fostering a sense of belonging on campus.
In a statement to Penn Today, Shleifer explained the positive impact that Penn had on his life and career and that he wishes to provide the same opportunities to current students.
"Elena and I hope this gift enables many more bright young minds to benefit from a Penn education so they can create the best lives for themselves and their families for generations to come," Shleifer told Penn Today.