Penn Announces Plan to Increase Financial Aid Endowment by $240 Million

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Media Contact:Ron Ozio | ozio@upenn.edu | 215-898-8658February 28, 2014

University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann today unveiled an ambitious new initiative designed to raise an additional $240 million for undergraduate financial aid, bringing to $600 million the total amount of philanthropic support for undergraduate education raised in the past decade.

During this period, Penn’s all-grant, no-loan policy -- launched during its Making History campaign -- has decreased by 10 percent the average cost of a Penn education to all undergraduates with demonstrated financial need, who can graduate debt-free. Next year it is estimated that the average grant for students receiving aid will be $41,700.

The new initiative will add to the more than $360 million for undergraduate aid raised by Penn’s recently completed Making History campaign, which identified increasing educational access as one of its key priorities.

“This new Penn Compact 2020 Presidential Initiative," said Gutmann, "will allow us to expand the impact of our all-grant, no-loan program, which has proven to be hugely successful in opening Penn’s doors to thousands of talented, hardworking students who could otherwise not afford a Penn education.”

Since becoming President in 2004, Gutmann has overseen an increase in undergraduate financial aid of 148 percent.  

To launch this new fundraising effort, the University is creating The President’s Men and Women of Pennsylvania Challenge Fund.  The Challenge Fund will offer $1 million in matching funds to the first five donors of $1million each toward a matching fund pool to support Penn’s all-grant, no-loan financial aid program. The matching fund pool created by the Men and Women of Pennsylvania Challenge Fund, in turn, will provide matching funds to additional donors, thereby enabling Penn to continue to distinguish itself as the largest university in the United States with its all-grant, no-loan policy for all its undergraduates based on their financial need.

By virtue of these gifts, these five donors will become Men and Women of Pennsylvania, joining the 68 other members of this leadership giving group which recognizes donors who make exceptionally generous investments in student aid at Penn.

The President’s Challenge will begin immediately and conclude at the end of the 2014 calendar year.  

“Penn's use of match funds for scholarship support was instrumental in achieving our goal during the Making History campaign,” said John Zeller, vice president for development and alumni relations. “The availability of Presidential Men and Women of Pennsylvania funds will play a critical role in achieving our goal of $240 million.”

When the goal is realized, operating support from the endowment to support undergraduate aid would increase by 30 percent over current levels.

Gifts to meet the Men and Women of Pennsylvania Challenge may be restricted only to undergraduate financial aid for the express purpose of providing match dollars to new undergraduate financial aid commitments.

“The Making History Campaign demonstrated the remarkable generosity and passion of Penn’s alumni and friends,” Gutmann said. “With their continued support and engagement, we will meet this new goal and reinforce our unwavering commitment to inclusion, which is a primary pillar of Penn Compact 2020.”

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