Penn State announced on Friday that it will be rolling out a new scholarship program for first year students. The new program, known as the Provost Awards, expands on a system that has already been in place at the branch campuses for six years, and adds another $20 million to the scholarship pool.
“We want to ensure that a Penn State education is accessible to high-caliber applicants who face challenges in meeting the financial commitment required to attend college, to provide them an additional incentive to attend our University,” said interim provost Robert Pangborn.
The scholarship will help some 2,700 first-year students knock $4,000-$6,000 off their tuition over the next two years — both at University Park and the branch campuses. Penn State remains one of the most expensive public universities in the country, and tuition has more than doubled over the last decade.
“We recognize that the landscape in higher education is competitive, and our current capital campaign, For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students, has been addressing this for several years. We are initiating a number of additional efforts like this to ensure that our offers are as attractive as possible,” said Pangborn.
It’s nice to see the currently dismal financial aid resources at Penn State improve, but it’s not hard to read between the lines here — applications are down, and Penn State needs to make their offers to prospective students as attractive as possible to keep next year’s incoming class as prestigious as possible. High achieving applicants are liable to go elsewhere if Penn State’s tuition continues to increase, so hopefully many of them will take advantage of this opportunity.
Because, as we all know, it’s hard to put a price on the Penn State experience.