Enabling Access to Education

We will place pursuing and completing a Penn State education within reasonable reach for students and their families. Many factors contribute to the ability to earn a Penn State degree, and we must address them all if we are to increase access, especially for populations that have historically had barriers to entry.

Student debt and the cost of attendance are increasing at troubling rates for a variety of reasons, including the substantial decline of funding for public universities in nearly every U.S. state. Approximately two in three students receive need-based financial aid at Penn State, and generating philanthropic support for scholarships remains a core institutional priority. Understanding and addressing trends in the costs of higher education and effecting sustainable budget management processes will be critical, as will be developing responsive and adaptive programs to ease students’ transition to Penn State.

We must continue to strive for efficiencies in our operations in ways that support the quality of a Penn State education. Given the large number of students who need financial aid and the socioeconomic challenges in communities throughout the Commonwealth, Penn State’s ability to educate students for productive careers is crucial. Penn State’s unique structure—one University, with campuses geographically distributed and a best-in-class World Campus—must be optimally configured to help enable access to potential students, both flexibly and at reasonable cost.