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Tuition and Financial Aid

PennDesign offers financial assistance to our students in the form of scholarships, loans, and work-study awards. The information in this website is designed to enable you to develop a financial plan and to assist you in your financial aid application.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and the general fee are set each year by the University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees. Other educational costs are assessed each year and and combined with tuition to form the annual student budget.

Projected Budget for the 2016-2017 Academic Year (Fall and Spring) 

Please note that this is a two-semester budget. If your program is longer or includes a summer semester, your costs will be higher.

Tuition Masters Degree Students$47,668
Tuition Doctoral Degree Students  $32,286
General Fee$2,788
Room and Board$9,450
Books and Supplies
(this can vary depending upon your program of study)
$2,300
Student Health Insurance$3,348
Clinical Fee$530
Miscellaneous$3,596
Total for Masters Degree Students$69,680
Total for Doctoral Degree Students$54,298
One course unit tuition$6,036
One course unit general fee$348
Total tuition and fee per course unit$6,384

Billing is handled by the University’s Student Financial Services office. SFS offers a wide range of payment options and has dedicated staff to assist PennDesign students with their financial needs.

How to Apply for Financial Aid

US Citizens and Permanent Residents

Applicants who are applying for financial aid must indicate this on their admissions application. Applications for need-based PennDesign grants, as well as for federal loans and work-study, are made on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form which should be filed as soon as possible after January 1 (not before) of the year they will receive aid, at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Penn's Federal School Code is 003378. After the FAFSA has been filed and application materials have been received by the Office of Admissions, we worked closely with the University's Office of Student Financial Services to put a financial aid package together to meet your educational needs at the time that you are admitted. Be sure to submit your FAFSA by February 15 to ensure that we get your information in time to determine your aid eligibility. Click here for SFS' information on applying for loans.

Foreign Nationals

Applicants must check the appropriate box on the School of Design application form indicating that they are applying for financial aid. In addition, they should download and fill out the PennDesign International Financial Aid Application. The application should be submitted as soon as possible after January 1. Completed forms can be emailed as pdf attachments with supporting documentation (examples in Section F) to Office of Admissions and Financial Aid [fin-aid@design.upenn.edu] or mailed to 110 Meyerson Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104. International Financial Aid Applications must be received no later than February 15. The International Financial Aid Application for the 2017-2018 academic year is available here.

Financial Aid Notification

If you have submitted your application by the February 15 deadline, your financial aid letter will be available on March 14 when your admissions notification letter is posted. To access the letter, click on the "View Checklist" button. The letter is at the bottom of that page.

PennDesign Grants and Scholarships

Departmental scholarships are awarded on an individual merit basis by the Chair of each department. In addition, the School of Design considers students for need-based grants, determined by assessing information from either the FAFSA or the International Student Financial Aid application. Funding for these grants and scholarships come from the various sources listed under PennDesign Awards and are generally given each year of the student's program, provided that full-time status and good academic standing are maintained.

Dean's Diversity Scholarship

PennDesign seeks to bring students to our school whose backgrounds and experiences offer varying perspectives on living and learning in a multicultural world. In order to accomplish this, we offer special Dean's Diversity Scholarships to students whose backgrounds and experiences demonstrate the ability to contribute to increasing socioeconomic and multicultural diversity awareness at the School of Design. Dean's Diversity Scholarships range from $12,000 to full tuition and vary depending on achievement and financial need. These scholarships are renewable for a student's entire PennDesign career, provided full-time status and good academic standing are maintained.

If you would like to be considered for a Diversity Scholarship, please indicate this on the Admissions Application financial aid section. Briefly describe in your Diversity Statement how you would use this opportunity to increase socioeconomic and multicultural diversity awareness in the discipline for which you are seeking admission. Please be aware that the description is restricted to 500 characters (including spaces) and cannot be submitted through any other medium than the application.

Teaching Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships are generally given to students in the final year of their programs. These students usually have shown specific skills in the areas for which TAs are used in their departments. Both first- and second-year Master of City Planning and Master of Fine Arts students are considered for TAs. Students interested in being considered for a Teaching Assistantship should contact the Chair of their department.

Loan Programs

US Citizens and Permanent Residents

You will be considered eligible for the following if an evaluation of your FAFSA indicates that you need financial aid.

Federal Direct Loan
This program is available to full-time and half-time students who are U.S citizens or permanent residents. Students are expected to meet the first $20,500 of their need by borrowing under this program. Full-time students may borrow up to $20,500 per academic year.

Federal Direct GradPLUS Loan
This alternative loan allows graduate students to borrow up to the cost of attendance less other aid including Direct Loan. Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, enrolled at least half-time in a graduate degree program and not be default on a prior educational loan. A credit review is required of all loan applicants.

Other Alternative Loans
A number of private lenders and other financial institutions offer education loans to students. These private alternative loans are not subsidized, and have variable interest rates and differing levels of origination fees, both based on your credit score. In addition, cosigners may be required. Unlike Federal Direct and GradPLUS loans, private loans do not have an income-based cap on monthly repayments. Therefore, Penn encourages U.S. citizens and permanent residents to first consider the Federal Direct and Direct GradPLUS loan programs when they need to borrow.

Foreign Nationals

There are some alternative educational loans offered by private lenders and other financial institutions; however, they usually require a U.S. cosigner. For more information, go to http://www.sfs.upenn.edu/loans/alternative-lenders-graduate.htm

Global Student Loan Corporation (GSLC), in conjunction with HSBC, has launched a new program for international students without a U.S. cosigner. This international student loan program is currently for students from India enrolling in U.S. colleges and universities, but the hopes are that they will expand the program to include students from other countries of origin. Funds may be borrowed to cover the cost of education – tuition, books, room and board and other education-related expenses. The loan terms and conditions are at the discretion of HSBC and may change from time to time. The detailed terms and conditions are posted on the GSLC site, www.GlobalSLC.com. The maximum annual loan amount is $50,000 and maximum lifetime amount is $200,000. All loans will have a cosigner in India. The interest rate is approximately 13.0% based on HSBC’s Retail Lending Rate which is reset occasionally. There will be a one-time administration fee of 2.75% paid by the borrower. There will also be a site-use fee of approximately $75 which the applicant may charge to a credit card. Borrowers may have up to 15 years to repay.

Work Programs

All students in the School of Design are required to be full-time participants in order to receive their awarded financial aid. Although students may be employed either on or off campus, it is not advised that they work more than fifteen to twenty hours per week. Foreign national students entering under F-1 visas are permitted to work on campus but are prohibited by law from having employment off campus.

Federal Work-Study
Federal work-study awards of up to $2,700 are granted by Student Financial Services. The arrangement permits students to earn money in part-time jobs while attending school. This is a federal program based on financial need and is available only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

Student Employment (non-work-study)
A listing of positions offered to students who are not eligible for Federal work-study awards, including foreign nationals, can be found through Student Employment's website.

Resident Assistants

The Residential Life Staff actively recruits single and married graduate students who can make positive contributions to student life, both graduate and undergraduate. It seeks men and women who are at ease with a variety of life styles and who, as members of the resident community, will be interested and involved in the changing student environment and experience. Remuneration typically includes a furnished room. For an application and further information about Graduate Associates, go to http://www.collegehouses.upenn.edu/join/ga.

Veterans Affairs' Yellow Ribbon Program

The School of Design is proud to announce our commitment to help America’s military veterans obtain a PennDesign education. PennDesign, in partnership with the federal government, will help fund the cost of tuition for veterans by participation in the Department of Veteran Affairs' Yellow Ribbon Program. If you qualify for post-9/11 veterans benefits and are admitted to PennDesign, you should submit your Certificate of Eligibility to the Office of the University Registrar as soon as possible, as there are limited openings available. For more information, click here.

Loan Repayment

Income-Based Repayment

Income-Based Repayment (IBR), created in 2007, is a student loan repayment program that can make your payments more manageable. Visit www.IBRinfo.org for details.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Program Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a new program for federal student loan borrowers who work in a wide range of "public service" jobs, including jobs in government and nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations. It will forgive remaining debt after 10 years of eligible employment and qualifying loan payments. During those 10 years, the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan can help keep loan payments affordable. For more information, go here or here.

Pay As You Earn

The Pay As You Earn program allows borrowers of the Federal Direct Loan and Federal GradPlus Loan to pay no more than 10% of their monthly income. For more information, go here.