The Pennsylvania State University, known as Penn State, is highly ranked for both its undergraduate and graduate programs, particularly in the area of entrepreneurship. In-state tuition for the 2022-23 school year at Penn State was $19,286. That’s more than the average for public four-year universities at $10,940 per year. Many students take out student loans to help with Penn State tuition.
Costs for 2022-23
Tuition & Fees
Books & Supplies
Room & Meals
Total Cost of Attendance
If you’re concerned that you might not be accepted to Penn State because you don’t have the money to attend, don’t be. Penn State is need-blind, meaning your ability to cover tuition isn’t considered when the school reviews your application. Anyone, regardless of income and financial situation, can apply.
Generally, financial aid is monetary assistance awarded to students based on personal need and merit. Students that qualify for financial aid can use it to pay for college costs like tuition, books, and living expenses.
The federal government is the largest provider of student financial aid. However, aid can also be given by state governments, colleges and universities, private companies, and nonprofits. The different types include:
• Scholarships: These can be awarded by schools and other organizations based on students’ academic excellence, athletic achievement, community involvement, job experience, field of study, and financial need.
• Grants: Generally based on financial need, these can come from federal, state, private, and non-profit organizations.
• Work-study: This federal program provides qualifying students with part-time employment to earn money for expenses while in school.
• Federal student loans: This is money borrowed directly from the U.S. Department of Education. It comes with fixed interest rates that are typically lower than private loans.
Colleges, universities, and state agencies use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine financial aid eligibility. The FAFSA can be completed online, but note that state and federal and school deadlines may differ.
You can find other financial aid opportunities on databases such as:
Just over half of Penn State students take out federal student loans, while 13% take out private loans. The average private student loan is $19,837.
Private loans are funded by private organizations such as banks, online lenders, credit unions, some schools, and state-based or state-affiliated organizations. While Federal student loans have interest rates that are regulated by Congress, private lenders follow a different set of regulations so their qualifications and interest rates can vary widely.
What’s more, private loans have variable or fixed interest rates that may be higher than federal loan interest rates, which are always fixed. Private lenders may (but don’t always) require you to make payments on your loans while you are still in school, compared to federal student loans which you don’t have to start paying back until after you graduate, leave school, or change your enrollment status to less than half-time.
Private loans don’t have a specific application window and can be applied for on an as-needed basis. However, if you think you may need to take out a private loan, it’s a good idea to submit your FAFSA first to see what federal aid you may qualify for as it generally may have better rates and terms.
If you’ve missed the FAFSA deadline or you’re struggling to pay for school throughout the year, private loans can potentially help you make your payments. Just keep in mind that you will need enough lead time for your loan to process and for your lender to send money to your school.
The cost of attending Penn State for four years, including tuition, room and board, books, and other expenses, is $155,592 for in-state students. Compare that Penn State tuition to the total average cost for a four-year public university cost of $111,760.
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Students spent $19,286 for in-state tuition and $38,651 for Penn State out-of-state tuition for the 2022-23 school year. In addition to Penn State tuition, they also paid $12,984 for room and meals.
Graduate Tuition and Fees
Costs for 2022-23
Tuition & Fees
Penn State tuition for graduate school in 2022-23 was $25,015 for in-state students and $42,151 for out-of-state students. The average cost for tuition for graduate school at a public institution is $29,150. There are graduate loans available to help with these costs.
Cost per Credit Hour
While you have the option to attend Penn State full-time (at the Penn State tuition rates we’ve covered), you also can opt to attend part-time. In that case, you would pay per credit hour, which is $1,007 per credit.
Campus Housing Expenses
Costs for 2022-23
Books & Supplies
Room & Board
$855 and up*
*Based on studio pricing. Average rate based on available apartments on Penn State’s off-campus housing website in 2023.
On-campus housing is provided at 12 of the 20 campuses of Penn State. First-year students at University Park are required to live on campus and are guaranteed housing.
Students may also opt for private housing near campus. Student Affairs has a website for Off-Campus Student Support where you can view apartments near your campus. Check it out to explore the available off-campus options .
Penn State Acceptance Rate
Number of applications
When it comes to the Penn State acceptance rate, over half of all students who apply are accepted.
Now that you know the Penn State acceptance rate, it’s important to understand what’s needed for admission. To be accepted as a student at Penn State, there are a couple of requirements, and then there are additional recommendations.
• Secondary school GPA
• Secondary school record
• Admission test scores (SAT/ACT)
• Completion of college-preparatory program
SAT and ACT Scores
Currently, Penn State is test-optional through summer/fall 2025. Students may submit SAT or ACT scores but are not required to. Even though submitting test scores for admissions is optional, here are the scores by subject at the 50th percentile:
University Park Campus
All Other Campuses
Reading/Writing + Math
Popular Majors at Penn State
Penn State offers students more than 275 majors to choose from on its 20 undergraduate campuses. Here are the most popular, as well as how many students graduated in each field with an undergraduate degree in 2021-22.
Considering a degree in finance? At Penn State, finance grads are armed with important knowledge to prepare them for careers in corporate finance, investment and portfolio management, banking, public finance, and international finance.
Undergraduate degrees in 2021-22: 449
2. Information Science/Studies
This is by far one of the most popular programs at Penn State. Students are trained with skills that will prepare them for careers in information technologies.
Undergraduate degrees in 2021-22: 448
Psychology students learn psychology theories, concepts, and trends, and use critical thinking to problem solve.
Undergraduate degrees in 2021-22: 427
4. Mechanical Engineering
The mechanical engineering program uses a foundation of chemistry, math, and physics, and teaches students to analyze and problem solve.
Undergraduate degrees in 2021-22: 311
5. Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication
Students develop an understanding of the role and effect of advertising and public relations within the business, social, and political arenas.
Undergraduate degrees in 2021-22: 293
Those interested in becoming accountants or auditors may benefit from studying accounting at Penn State.
Undergraduate degrees in 2021-22: 271
For students interested in medical careers, a degree in biology is a stepping stone toward that future. Courses include ecology, evolution, and behavior; genetics and development biology; and medical technology.
Undergraduate degrees in 2021-22: 253
8. Computer and Information Systems
For students interested in the field of technology, studying programming, systems analysis and design, and network management at Penn State provides the ideal foundation for their career.
Undergraduate degrees in 2021-22: 234
Penn State students also end up in marketing careers upon graduating. The marketing program trains students to develop products and services, create marketing plans, and understand marketing needs.
Undergraduate degrees in 2021-22: 231
10. Econometrics and Quantitative Economics
Another popular major is economics. Students learn about different economic systems, governments, and business operations.
Undergraduate degrees in 2021-22: 215
This resource can help you learn more about the different majors at Penn State.
Penn State has an average graduation rate. Here is the graduation rate of students who began their studies in 2015: 71%.
Post-Graduation Median Earnings
Upon graduation, students from Penn State earn, on average, $61,185, according to the U.S. Department of Education. This is above the average for salaries for college graduates across the board of $55,260.
Penn State’s tuition may be higher than the average for U.S. public four-year institutions, but what you get in return is the chance to study one of more than 270 fields that will prepare you for a fulfilling career. And because Penn State is need-blind, it’s inclusive, no matter what your financial situation. Anyone can apply.
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