University of Pennsylvania Scholarships for International Students

The University of Pennsylvania is a prestigious private university based in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The university was founded in 1740 as one of the first colonial colleges in the country and is now a famous member of the Ivy League of Universities of the United States. It is most commonly known as the college founded by Benjamin Franklin. As of now, the university has grown into a world-class institution that provides education for more than 23,000 students in total.

With four undergraduate schools and twelve professional and graduate schools, the university is most renowned for the liberal arts as well as its reputed Wharton School of Business, among other highly ranked schools. The university has also produced world-class alumni who have gone on to hold prestigious positions in the US government as well as in the sciences and arts. In this article, we detail some of the key scholarships offered by the University of Pennsylvania for international students.

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How much does it cost to study at the University of Pennsylvania?

The cost of attendance for an undergraduate student at UPenn for an academic year and for a student who lives on campus is expected to be around $79,635 for the year 2020-2021. This total fee includes the tuition, fees, housing, dining, personal expenses and other essential costs. There is only a marginal difference in this cost for students who live off campus (estimated to be around $78,000).

Does the University of Pennsylvania offer need-blind admissions?

Student applicants only from the countries of Canada and Mexico in addition to the United States are considered on a need-blind basis. Unfortunately, this is not mentioned for students outside these countries.

Does the University of Pennsylvania offer scholarships for all international students?

As a university with one of the largest endowments in the country, UPenn ensures that a sufficient University of Pennsylvania scholarships that are allocated for international students. Scholarship opportunities are limited but the university claims that funding is guaranteed for international students who apply. Scholarships can also be applied through external organizations connected to the university. Further information will be provided in this article.

University of Pennsylvania Scholarships for International Students

Undergraduate Scholarships

The University of Pennsylvania operates a very strong and potent undergraduate funding program. The University of Pennsylvania schoalrships usually meet 100% of the demonstrated financial requirements of students by providing funding grants as well as work-study funding which makes it possible for students to graduate from a world-class university with an undergraduate degree debt-free.

International students (specifically students outside of Mexico and Canada) who understand that they require financial aid are required to apply for this when applying for admission as well. This assistance is offered on a need-based consideration depending on the families of students who are of a very low income background. Thus a family’s ability to pay tuition does affect the decisions made in the admissions process.

Typically, once the students are admitted, the university offers UPenn Scholarships that cover the finances and demonstrated need for around 8 semesters or up to 4 years. This is subject to proving that constant financial need is present for the student and so most students can graduate debt free from the university. This can be offered through the Penn Grant which is the funding that Penn invests into the student’s future.

Additionally, external scholarships present an alternative opportunity for international students who require funding to consider. Students who apply for these external aid programs need to understand that applying for these scholarships will not affect their application to the university for financial aid. However, the amount incurred through the external scholarship will impact the amount of the financial aid package given by the university. Further information regarding external scholarships is provided in this link.

In the case of loans, international students are naturally not eligible to apply for the federal and state loan programs offered. However, private loans are available for these students. These types of loans are not subsidized and therefore come with high interest rates. The university has compiled this page to provide additional information regarding private loans.

Postgraduate Scholarships

  • Link to the university webpage
  • Types of Scholarship: postgraduate grants, research and teaching assistantships, school/program-specific grants, external scholarships, private loans

In the case of postgraduate students, the funding and financial aid programs are not as linear as seen with undergraduates. This is because the 12 graduate and professional schools of study operate their own financial programs independent of each other. As such, depending on the program to which the student is applying, the type of funding will differ. A few examples are detailed below.

As an example, in the case of the Graduate School of Education, PhD students are guaranteed full University of Pennsylvania scholarships via the Dean’s Fellowship and Research Apprenticeship. Support typically includes the tuition fees, health insurance as well as living stipends for the duration of 4 years of the program. Additional funding is available on a case-by-case basis.

On the other hand, in the case of Masters students at the GSE, numerous funding and scholarship opportunities exist for prospective students. These include the Penn GSE Merit-Based Scholarships, Dean’s Scholarships, Fulbright Scholarships and various need-based assistance. This is an example of prospects in one particular school of study; students are encouraged to check with their department and thoroughly examine the opportunities for financial aid.

International postgraduate students also have access to employment in the form of research and teaching assistantships, some of which are usually mandatory in specific schools or departments. Further information regarding student employment is provided in the university website.

How to Apply to UPenn Scholarships

Undergraduate applications

The deadlines for undergraduate applications for UPenn scholarships are listed as follows:

  • Early decision – November 1st, 2020
  • Regular decision – January 5th, 2021

Undergraduate applicants are encouraged to submit the following documents to complete their financial aid applications.

  • CSS profile
  • Penn Financial Aid supplement – Submission online; this becomes available after creating an application in the Applicant Portal.
  • Tax returns and Income statements – Applicant’s family’s tax returns from the home country need to be submitted with both the original and translated versions. If income tax documents are not submitted, alternatives include payslips, wage statements or letter from the employer’s stating annual income.

Postgraduate applications

As mentioned previously, the postgraduate scholarships at UPenn process is non-linear and will depend on the applicant’s prospective school or department of study. The university has created pages catered towards each of these schools and includes a financial checklist to be followed. Each of these departments will also have their own deadlines so students should be sure to check and confirm these as well. Taking the previously mentioned example i.e. in the case of the Graduate School of Education, further information for international students is offered on this page.


I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Scholarships Page.