Ask Benny: Penn aids the people in the middle, too

Dear Benny,
I have been helping my son apply for financial aid to attend college this fall. Penn’s Student Financial Services office tells me that financial aid is need-based. A full-time student living on campus needs $160,000 for four years at Penn. Are Ivy League schools limited to rich and needy students only and not the middle class?
— Not Sure I Can Foot the Bill

Dear Worried,
Not at all, says Director of Student Financial Aid William Schilling C’66, who notes that more than half of all Penn students receiving financial aid come from families who earn $70,000 or more a year and nearly 40 percent come from those earning $90,000 and up.

Of course, Schilling also points out that students from poorer families will receive larger aid packages. But, he says, “The con-cept of need is the difference between the $40,000 per year cost of attendance and what we feel is a reasonable and equitable level of family support.” In other words, go ahead and apply; if accepted, we will make sure you can afford to attend, even if your family isn’t poor.

Dear Benny,
When I tried to get on a Shuttle van at David Rittenhouse Lab the other night to go to 39th and Walnut, the driver refused to let me on, but said I could take the PennBus. Why couldn’t I get on the van?
— Peeved Physics Ph.D. Student

Dear Peeved,
You were going from one campus location to another. Transportation Services reserves the limited space on Shuttle vans for riders headed for off-campus destinations. The PennBuses have plenty of seats and will drop you off on any street corner on their routes.

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Originally published on April 15, 2004