Penn Compact 2020/

Increase Access: Passion and Purpose

Penn President Amy Gutmann visited the Eleanor Roosevelt High School in New York City on Nov. 10 to speak to junior and senior students about their college aspirations.

Roosevelt is a high-performing public school where 40 percent of students are first-generation Americans, and 40 percent will be the first in their families to attend college.

Gutmann addressed the students’ anxiety regarding college admission and discussed ways to make the cost of higher education more affordable, including Penn’s no-loan financial aid policy for undergraduate students. (View a photo album of Gutmann’s visit)

As part of her speech, Gutmann asked whether the students were anxious about pursuing a higher education. Most raised their hands.

“If you’re not anxious, you’re not human,” Gutmann noted, adding that while it’s natural to be nervous, students should not be afraid to pursue their passions.

“If you ask me how can you live not just a good life, but a great life—my answer is to combine passion with purpose,” Gutmann said. “You follow your passion and then you find larger and larger purposes—and you’re successful at the same time.”

Penn is one of a few schools in the country with a need-blind admissions policy—which means that the University admits undergraduate students without regard to their ability to pay.

Once students are admitted to Penn, a financial aid package is designed to meet their full, demonstrated financial needs without loans. Penn has increased its undergraduate financial aid budget by more than 100 percent since 2004, resulting in a net cost for aided undergraduates that is less than it was in 2005.

Gutmann’s visit to Roosevelt High was covered by The Choice, a higher education blog produced by The New York Times.

Text by University Communications
Video by Kurtis Sensenig

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