Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 58.76
Liaison Krista Bailey
Submission Date July 29, 2011
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

Pennsylvania State University
PAE-10: Affordability and Access Programs

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Lydia Vandenbergh
Assoc. Dir. Employee Engagement & Education
Sustainability Institute
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have policies and programs in place to make it accessible and affordable to low-income students?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s participation in federal TRIO programs:

Penn State hosts most of the federal TRiO programs. Our programs are very competitive in their grants and have been re-funded over a number of cycles.
• College Assistance Migrant Program http://www.equity.psu.edu/camp/
• Equal Opportunity Center, Philadelphia http://www.equity.psu.edu/eocphila/
• Equal Opportunity Center, Southwest PA http://www.equity.psu.edu/eocswpa/
• Ronald McNair Post Baccalaureate Program http://www.gradsch.psu.edu/diversity/mcnair.html
• Student Support Services Program http://www.equity.psu.edu/sssp/
• Talent Search http://www.equity.psu.edu/ts/
• Talent Search—York http://www.equity.psu.edu/tsyork/index.asp
• Upward Bound http://www.equity.psu.edu/ub/
• Upward Bound Math Science http://www.equity.psu.edu/ubms/

In addition to the TRiO programs, we offer:
• Pennsylvania College Advising Corps—Penn State http://www.equity.psu.edu/pacac/ Funded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation with additional corporate foundation support
• Office for Disability Services http://www.equity.psu.edu/ods/
• Multicultural Resource Center http://www.equity.psu.edu/mrc/
• Office of Veterans Programs http://www.equity.psu.edu/veterans/
• Women in the Sciences and Engineering (WISE) Institute http://www.equity.psu.edu/wise/ Considerable funding support from corporate foundation


A brief description of the institution’s policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance for low-income students?:

Penn State offers a number of need based scholarship opportunities (see below). Programs offering emergency loans, and bookships (assistance to support book purchases) also help to defray costs. The commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity has convened a task force to examine the implications of and possible interventions for cases where students have holds placed on their academic records due to outstanding financial balances. Educational Equity has convened a strategic planning committee to explore the wider array of factors involved in helping low-income students manage costs for attendance and to better align the University’s targeted recruiting efforts with potential students’ financial ability to be successful at Penn State. Efforts include making available a “cost calculator” tool on-line so that prospective students and their families (particularly out of state students) can gain an idea of the potential financial aid profile, cost of attendance, and unmet need might be.


A brief description of the institution’s programs to equip the institution's faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds:

The Administrative Council on Multicultural Affairs, convened by the Vice Provost for Educational Equity (Chief Diversity Officer) and consisting of the multicultural officer from each college as well as representatives from Undergraduate Admissions, Graduate Educational Equity, the Honors College, recruitment centers, the Career Center, Student Aid, Multicultural Resource Center, Women in Sciences and Engineering Institute (WISE) and Penn State Campuses other than University Park, meets monthly to discuss issues pertaining to underrepresented/underserved students, including specific attention to low-income students.

The Vice Provost for Educational Equity sits on the President’s Council, and the Academic Leadership Team to ensure that issues pertaining to underrepresented/underserved students, including students from low-income backgrounds, are considered and addressed.

The University’s overall strategic plan Priorities for Excellence has as one of its goals “Goal 4: Maintain Access/Affordability and Enhance Diversity.” http://strategicplan.psu.edu/StrategicPlancomplete.pdf

The University’s strategic plan for diversity, A Framework to Foster Diversity at Penn State: 2010-15 has as one of its goals “Challenge 3: Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Student Body.” Specific attention is given to issues of access and success for low-income first generation students. http://www.equity.psu.edu/Framework/representation.asp

The annual Enrollment Management Conference brings together those at Penn State who work with students within the enrollment process. Several sessions directly address the challenges faced by low-income students and approaches to better serving them.

The Vice Provost for Educational Equity monitors for students who have difficulty in meeting the deadlines for tuition payment to identify students who would benefit from intervention from staff who provide targeted advising, counseling, and academic support services.

The Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence has presented workshops and speakers that profile characteristics of the student body, including first generation low-income students. A workshop several years ago was dedicated to understanding low-income students in the classroom.


A brief description of the institution’s programs to prepare students from low-income backgrounds for higher education:

Penn State offers a number of outreach programs that help prepare low-income students for higher education

• Equal Opportunity Center, Philadelphia http://www.equity.psu.edu/eocphila/ Educational Opportunity Center helps adults age 19 or older to begin or to continue a program of postsecondary education. Adults assisted by EOC programs across the country are low-income individuals whose parents did not graduate from college.
• Equal Opportunity Center, Southwest PA http://www.equity.psu.edu/eocswpa/ Educational Opportunity Center helps adults age 19 or older to begin or to continue a program of postsecondary education. Adults assisted by EOC programs across the country are low-income individuals whose parents did not graduate from college.
• Pennsylvania College Advising Corps—Penn State http://www.equity.psu.edu/pacac/ PA College Advising Corps hires recent college graduates to work as advisers in high schools in low-income neighborhoods. The advisers serve as mentors by helping high school students enroll in post-secondary institutions that best fit their academic profile. This program is based in Wyomissing, PA and serves the following schools: Edison High School; Furness High School; Germantown High School; Harrisburg High School; Olney East High School; Olney West High School; Reading Area Senior High School; Steelton-Highspire High School.
• Talent Search http://www.equity.psu.edu/ts/ Talent Search helps eligible youth and adults to continue in and complete secondary education or its equivalent and to enroll in or re-enter a college or training program. This program is based at University Park and serves schools in the Western Pennsylvania communities of Aliquippa, Clairton, New Kensington, Farrell, and Sharon.
• Talent Search—York http://www.equity.psu.edu/tsyork/index.asp Talent Search helps eligible youth and adults to continue in and complete secondary education or its equivalent and to enroll in or re-enter a college or training program. This program is based at Penn State York and serves schools in the York city school district.
• Upward Bound http://www.equity.psu.edu/ub/ Upward Bound helps high school students gain the skills and desire to continue their education beyond high school. Students are eligible if the family's income is low to moderate. Penn State's Upward Bound Program serves students from selected schools in five counties--Clearfield, Centre, Dauphin, Huntingdon, and Mifflin.
• Upward Bound Math Science http://www.equity.psu.edu/ubms/ Upward Bound Math and Science provides educational opportunities for low-income high school students who show interest in math and science. Penn State UBMS serves eligible students from Harrisburg, Reading and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and in six target high schools located in urban school districts in the state.
• Women in the Sciences and Engineering (WISE) Institute http://www.equity.psu.edu/wise/ Women in the Sciences & Engineering coordinates information, research, and activities for and about women in the sciences and engineering. The WISE Institute at The Pennsylvania State University offers multidisciplinary programs specifically geared towards K-12 girls interested in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields.
• Equal Opportunity Planning Committee grants provide central funding support a number of outreach programs throughout Penn State. Lists of funded programs are available at http://www.equity.psu.edu/eopc/programs.asp
• Additionally, there are outreach programs based in the colleges and campuses.
• Summer College Opportunity Program in Education http://www.ed.psu.edu/educ/multicultural-programs/summer-program S.C.O.P.E. is a four week academic intensive program for high school sophomores from multicultural backgrounds interested in a career in teaching, counseling, special education, rehabilitation, or educational administration during which students: Live on Penn State's main campus in University Park; Take college courses; Prepare for the SAT; Learn time management and other study skills


A brief description of the institution's scholarships for low-income students:

Bunton-Waller Fellowships http://www.psu.edu/studentaid/scholarships/pssch_bwfellows.shtml?reload
• Application Process: Students need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA on the Web) for the appropriate academic year in order to receive a Bunton-Waller Fellows award.
• Selection process: The Office of Undergraduate Admissions and University academic colleges review the profiles of outstanding students and select eligible candidates. Priority consideration may be given to students who are underrepresented in the University's student body.
• Annual Fellows amount: The Fellows award, in combination with other aid sources, may cover tuition, fees, room and board for Pennsylvania residents; or full non-Pennsylvania tuition for non-Pennsylvania residents.
• Fellows renewal: The award is available for a total of eight semesters if a GPA of at least 3.0 is maintained. A minimum of 24 credits must be completed each academic year. Renewal eligibility is reviewed each May.
• Students must be enrolled full time.

Bunton-Waller Scholarships http://www.psu.edu/studentaid/scholarships/pssch_bwsch.shtml?reload
The Bunton-Waller Scholarship program assists Penn State in creating a more diverse population. Factors such as economic disadvantage, geographic diversity, and ethnic/racial under representation at Penn State place high-achieving students under consideration for these awards.
• Annual scholarship amount: is $3,200.
• Academic criteria: Must maintain minimum 2.3 GPA
• Penn State must have received a valid Free Application for Federal Student Student Aid (FAFSA) by the following dates:
o first-year students - March 1, 2010
o current students - June 1, 2010
• Must demonstrate high financial need.
• Must be enrolled full time.

The Brook J. Lenfest Scholarship Program reaches students from selected Philadelphia public high schools to provide, in combination with other student aid programs, full support for tuition, fees, room, and meals. http://www.psu.edu/studentaid/scholarships/interest_lenfest.shtml?reload

Educational Equity administers scholarships that support approximately thirty low-income, first-generation students. A full time development officer and an Educational Equity development advisory board are dedicated to securing donations for diversity scholarships. http://www.equity.psu.edu/giving.asp ; http://www.equity.psu.edu/index.html

Scholarships have been established to target students with disabilities at any Penn State campus. http://www.psu.edu/studentaid/scholarships/interest_disablty.shtml?reload

The recently established Osher Re-entry Scholarship Program benefits adult learners throughout the Penn State system. http://live.psu.edu/tag/Osher_Reentry_Scholarship

U.S. Department of Education CCAMPIS grants have funded child care access for many Penn State students in recent years. http://www.ohr.psu.edu/worklife/ChildSub.cfm

The Renaissance Fund, created in 1969, continues to provide scholarship support to “the brightest of the neediest” students. http://www.psu.edu/studentaid/scholarships/pssch_renssnc.shtml?reload

Penn State’s Board of Trustees recently established the Trustee Matching Scholarship Program for low-income students. To date, more than 4,000 students have received Trustee Scholarship funds, with a significant percentage being students of color and/or those who are the first generation in their family to attend college. The median grade-point average for Trustee Scholars is 3.27. http://www.psu.edu/studentaid/scholarships/pssch_trustee.shtml?reload

The current For the Future: Campaign for Penn State Students development campaign, which focuses on philanthropy to support student scholarships, seeks to help alleviate the amount of debt that many students must incur for a Penn State education. http://giveto.psu.edu/s/1218/start.aspx

Additional need-based scholarships are available through the student’s college or campus.


A brief description of the institution’s programs to guide parents of low-income students through the higher education experience:

Educational Equity student services programs (see above) may work with parents in understanding higher education and navigating through the admission process and applying for financial aid. FERPA guidelines prohibit discussion of specific information about students.

Undergraduate Admissions offers a section of its Web site dedicated to parents and families http://admissions.psu.edu/info/parents/ . One service is the Penn State Parents and Families Program http://www.parentprogram.psu.edu/, which helps to ensure student success, provide opportunities for parent engagement with the University, and educates parents about resources and services available within the University community. The program’s goals are to Serve as a central resource for parents and families; enhance parent and family involvement opportunities throughout the University community; provide information about the student experience at Penn State; and communicate regularly with parents and families. The program offers a “Parents and Families Guide” http://www.parentprogram.psu.edu/documents/ParentsandFamiliesGuide2010.pdf which provides information and resources to guide parents through the higher education experience. The guide includes sections on money matters and financial aid.

FTCAP, the First-Year Testing, Consulting, and Advising Program, http://www.psu.edu/ftcap/ also offers a section of its Web site dedicated to parents and families http://www.parentprogram.psu.edu/fy.shtml, which includes a section devoted to money matters. During on-campus FTCAP testing sessions, informational sessions for parents are offered.


A brief description of the institution’s targeted outreach to recruit students from low-income backgrounds:

Penn State Recruitment Centers: http://admissions.psu.edu/pennstate/representative/ are based in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, New York, and Washington, DC. They provide information sessions and individual counseling to prospective students and families about Penn State academic programs, admissions procedures, student financial aid and other services. While not specifically targeted to prospective students from low-income backgrounds, the centers maintain a relationship with Educational Equity and are equipped to assist low-income prospective students with information about financial aid and available support programs for which they may be eligible.

Spend a Summer Day: (http://admissions.psu.edu/sasd/) Spend a Summer Day is a campus open house for Prospective First Year Students to learn about admissions, academics, and student life at Penn State. Prospective students and their families are invited to join us at any of our 20 undergraduate campuses. Bus trips are organized from urban areas to assist families for whom transportation would be a difficulty.

Student Minority Advisory and Recruitment Team: (http://admissions.psu.edu/smart/about/) The goal of SMART is to assist the Office of Undergraduate Admissions with the recruitment and retention of underrepresented student populations at the Pennsylvania State University. Through the use of campus recruitment trips, tours, student panels and overnight visits, SMART relies on the experiences of students at the University Park Campus to provide prospective students with an accurate and positive portrayal of campus life. SMART members are living and walking examples of success stories of underrepresented students’ here Penn State. Events include:
• Achiever's Weekend: High achieving, academically eligible, students with offers of admission are invited to participate in a purposeful weekend in which students can meet current students, faculty, staff and alumni. Ultimately, Achiever's Weekend helps students make an informed decision about attending Penn State.
• La Experiencia: La Experiencia is an event at Penn State University Park sponsored by the Undergraduate Admissions Office and SMART that reaches out to high school students of Latino or Hispanic descent. La Experiencia includes a presentation about Penn State's multicampus system. Students also have an opportunity to learn from and interact with current Penn State students who identify as Latino or Hispanic.
• Spend a Fall Day: Every fall semester, minority high school students are invited to attend Spend a Fall Day at Penn State University Park. Students in attendance learn about Penn State's multicampus system. In addition to providing important application information, Spend a Fall Day also gives students an opportunity to interact with current undergraduates during a panel session and a tour in which S.M.A.R.T. students share their stories of success with the visitors.


A brief description of the institution’s other admissions policies and programs:

See the Undergraduate Admissions Web site for information about admissions policies and programs: http://admissions.psu.edu/


A brief description of the institution’s other financial aid polices or programs:

See the Office of Student Aid Web site for more information about financial aid policies and programs: http://www.psu.edu/studentaid/index.shtml


A brief description of the institution’s other policies and programs not covered above:
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The website URL where information about programs in each of the areas listed above is available:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.