Graduate Funding and Finances
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Pursuing a graduate or professional degree is an important investment in your future and can also be a significant investment of your time and money. Whether you're living on a budget or relying on external funding, the financial decisions you make during graduate school can have an impact for years to come.
This page provides information and resources to help you identify funding opportunities and make more informed financial decisions as you pursue your degree. Funding for student organizations and events can be found on our Graduate Student Groups page.
Please visit Student Registration and Financial Services for a full list student policies related to financial aid, student accounts, course registration, and student records.
Students experiencing an immediate financial emergency impacting their housing or health should contact Student Intervention Services right away.
Penn graduate tuition and fees vary by school and program.
Graduate Appointments and Fellowships
There are a variety of university fellowships and appointments available to Penn graduate students. Students should refer to their appointment letter or contact their department to determine the type of stipend they are receiving. See also: Guide to Graduate Student Appointments.
Incoming PhD students receiving a university fellowship can typically expect the first stipend payment on September 30. Please contact department or school administrators for more information about university fellowships.
Long term education loans, payable after departure from graduate school, are intended to help students cover the cost of attendance during the academic year. The University can only certify loan amounts for educational expenses up to the cost of attendance, less available student resources. More information can be found on the Student Financial and Registration Services (SRFS) website or by speaking with a SRFS Graduate Financial Counselor.
Federal Student Loans
Federal student loans are intended to help students cover the cost of attendance during the academic year. International students are not eligible for federal loan programs. Both U.S. citizens and permanent residents may apply for federal student loans through the U.S. Department of Education.
For more information on federal loan programs, interest rates, and the amounts you are allowed to borrow; please visit the U.S. Government's Federal Student Aid website.
International students may borrow from private sources or apply for private student loans through banks, credit unions, or other lending institutions. Private loans should be considered by US citizens and permanent residents only after all other borrowing options have been explored.
Student Financial Services (SFS), in conjunction with the financial aid director at the various schools, can assist with any questions regarding bills, financial aid, student loans, payment options, and any other financial matters.
Student Registration and Financial Services publishes student policies related to financial aid, student accounts, course registration, and student records.
Student Accounts and Billing
Penn.Pay offers easy access to all your student financial account information, including real time detail charges and payments, optional interest-free payment plans, and related university financial activity. If you have questions about your bill or want more information about paying your bill, contact Student Financial Services or the Cashier's Office.
Please visit www.sfs.upenn.edu/pennpay to familiarize yourself with important information regarding your student account and payment options, as well as important due dates.
If you hold an assistantship, traineeship, or fellowship, you will need to complete payroll information in the University's online system and submit required documentation in person. Your department will provide you with instructions. You will not be paid until you have completed all of the required forms and steps.
Payments are generally dispersed on the last weekday of the month and must be paid by direct deposit or debit card.
SRFS partners with the Comptroller’s Office and the various schools and centers to provide guidance on payments to students.
Penn graduate student costs and funding vary by school and program. Please contact your program administrator or visit the pages below for more details.
There are a number of specialized grant programs for Penn graduate students. Students are encouraged to speak with faculty and staff about additional opportunities offered by their school and/or department.
- GAPSA Conference and Professional Travel Grants
Small grants to reimburse students for costs associated with travel to and participate in academic and professional conferences or meetings. Students may also have access to travel funds through their graduate school government or department.
- GAPSA-Provost Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Innovation
Grants of $6,000 to support original, student-derived initiatives that integrate knowledge across diverse academic disciplines. The fellowship is also meant to help the project-leader(s) develop, pursue and complete their proposed interdisciplinary initiatives.
- Penn Mentor Meals
All Penn students can invite current or past professors, teaching assistants, advisors, and members of Penn’s professional staff who serve as mentors to a free lunch or dinner on Penn's campus. Take your faculty advisor or the students in your recitation out for lunch and get to know them a bit better!
- Campaign for Community Grants
The Campaign for Community aims to strengthen our Penn community by finding ways to discuss and understand key issues that may appear to be difficult or intractable. The program provides grants of up to $1500 for projects and activities that help advance the Campaign's goals of encouraging mutual understanding, respect, and discussion among members of the community on important topics.
- Funding for student groups
Visit our student organizations page for information about funding for recognized student groups and organizations.
Grants for Students with Financial Need
Penn offers a number of funding sources to support individual graduate students with financial need. These include:
- Trustees’ Council of Penn Women Emergency Grant
The Trustees' Council of Penn Women will offer grants to students who have special financial needs. Special consideration will be given to women students. Grants will be for sudden, compelling, and unanticipated need due to changed financial circumstances. Examples include the death or unemployment of a parent or illness. These students would be unable to continue their studies without special financial assistance. Students should demonstrate resourcefulness and self-reliance in their quest for a Penn education, and their qualities should identify them as role models for other University students.
- Graduate Emergency Fund
The Graduate Emergency Fund provides grants to assist currently enrolled graduate and professional students with urgent financial needs and unanticipated, one-time expenses. The fund is intended to support the continued academic progress and well-being of students experiencing short term financial hardship who cannot reasonably resolve their immediate financial needs through loans, aid programs, or personal resources.
- Insurance Grants for PhD Students
The University offers two grant programs for PhD students to help offset the cost of health insurance and dental insurance. These grants are funded by the Office of the Provost and administered by the Graduate Student Center and the Office of Student Registration and Financial Services.
- Grant Programs for PhD Students with Families
The University offers grant programs for PhD students to help offset the cost of childcare and family expenses, and health insurance for dependents. These grants are funded by the Office of the Provost and administered by the Family Resource Center and the Office of Student Registration and Financial Services.
- Career Services summer funding
Career Services has compiled a variety of funding sources across Penn for professional pursuits over the summer.
Internal award competitions
The University offers several fellowships and awards to support Penn graduate students. In many cases, students must be nominated by their department and cannot apply directly to these awards. Students wishing to be nominated should contact their department’s graduate chair for details.
- Limited Submission & Institutional Endorsement
Competitive external opportunities that require submission or endorsement through Penn departments or centers.
- Internal Award Competitions
Fellowships and awards for current and graduating Penn students.
- Awards for graduate and professional student alumni
Many schools and departments provide additional fellowship and grant opportunities for their students. Be sure to check with faculty and staff in your department for more information.
External Fellowships and Grants
Whereas “internal” awards are those offered by your department or the University, “external” awards are nationally- and internally-competitive opportunities offered by private foundations, government agencies, and corporations. Penn provides a number of resources and services to help students pursue these awards.
Additional information about these and other awards can be found on our Grants and Fellowships page.
Visit the Student Employment Office for more information about employment opportunities at Penn. Information about on-campus employment for international students can be found at global.upenn.edu/isss/oncampus
Eligible graduate students may participate during academic and/or summer terms.
The Federal Work-Study program provides eligible students with employment opportunities. Eligible students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
Penn/Federal Work-Study is a federal government and Student Financial Services subsidized work program, which provides on-campus and off-campus employment to eligible undergraduate and graduate students with financial need. While the program offers a variety of job opportunities, a student is encouraged to seek community service work and/or work related to the student's course of study. The student is paid for those hours actually worked.
Many on- and off-campus organizations hire graduate students. However, specific funding and employment rules may apply depending on your department, school and/or visa status. Part-time employment is generally paid on an hourly basis and is different from fellowship or grant funding, which provides monthly stipend support.
- Visit the Student Employment Office for a searchable list of part-time employment opportunities on- and off-campus.
- Check out the public bulletin board in the lobby of the Grad Center for additional postings
Campus organizations that frequently hire graduate students include:
- Career Services
- Communication Within the Curriculum (CWiC) hires graduate students as "critical speaking" teaching fellows.
- Critical Writing Program hires graduate students for an assortment of writing positions.
- Graduate Student Center employs graduate and professional students as Fellows who develop programming, maintain the website, and staff the front desk.
- International Student & Scholar Services employs graduate and professional students for Orientation positions.
- Office of College Houses and Academic Services employs graduate and professional students as Graduate Associates in the undergraduate residences. GAs receive rent-free housing on campus and a meal plan.
- Netter Center for Community Partnerships hires graduate and professional students in a variety of roles, including work-study, intern, and volunteer positions.
- Penn Transportation hires drivers and dispatchers for shuttle vans (evening/night work).
- VPSE Equity & Access Programs administer several programs that may hire graduate students.
- Weingarten Learning Resources Center regularly offers advising, instructing, tutoring, and proctoring positions to graduate students through its various offices.
Information about payroll and payments for University fellowships and assistantships can be found under the "Educational Costs" tab
Penn is committed to providing resources to help you manage your finances.
Financial Wellness @ Penn
Financial Wellness @ Penn offers personal finance education, tools, and resources to help students improve their financial well-being. Explore Financial Wellness @ Penn's modules on Budgeting, Banking, Managing Debt, and Investing. You can also attend or request a workshop on topics related to personal finance. In addition to these modules
In addition to our modules, all Penn students have access to two external financial wellness resources:
- Cash Course, developed by the National Endowment For Financial Education, offers self-paced personal finance education, including a series of worksheets and templates for use by students and blog posts featuring students' anecdotes. To create your account, indicate that you are a student at the University of Pennsylvania on the sign-up page.
- Financial Avenue, developed by Inceptia, offers courses on a range of financial literacy topics. Each course includes a combination of videos, worksheets, and action items for students to improve their financial well-being. Create your account today using Penn’s school access code: kw7rqd.
Personal finance resources that grad students may find useful include:
An online education platform that provides students with important financial information on topics from money management to the value of pursuing an advanced degree. This site aims to help graduate and undergraduate students make wise financial decisions that will support their long term academic and professional career goals.
- Grad Student Finances
- Financial Lessons for Grad Students
- Budgeting, Saving & Credit
- College Budget Template
- CashCourse: Real Life Money Guide
- 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy
360 Degrees of Financial literacy is a national volunteer effort of the nation’s Certified Public Accountants to help Americans understand their personal finances and develop money management skills. It focuses on financial education as a lifelong endeavor—from children learning about the value of money to adults reaching a secure retirement.
Personal Finance InfoGraphics
from the Council of Graduate Studies (CGS)
If you open a bank account with either PNC Bank, your PennCard can also be used as an ATM card and as a pin-based bank debit card. This eliminates the need to carry an extra card to access your money. There are numerous banks close to campus:
- PNC Bank, 3535 Market Street
- Bank of America, 3925 Walnut Street
- Citizens Bank, 134 South 34th Street
- Santander Bank, 3131 Market Street
- TD Bank, 3735 Walnut Street
- Wells Fargo, 3431 Chestnut Street
- Student Federal Credit Union at the University of Pennsylvania, 3401 Walnut St. *not affiliated with the University
Tax Information for Graduate Students
- Penn Division of Finance: Tax Withholding on Graduate Stipends (scroll to "Graduate Stipends")
- Internal Revenue Service statement on federal taxes
- Pennsylvania Department of Revenue statement on state taxes
- Tax Information for International Students & Scholars at Penn
- IRS Tax Information for Students
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
Please note: Although no reporting or withholding is required for U.S. students, the students must report and pay federal income tax on any payments in excess of tuition, fees, books, and certain other expenses. Further, there are special rules for international students. All Educational Fellowship and Pre-doctoral trainee grants to international students must be reported on IRS Form 1042-S. If the student is not from a tax treaty country, then federal income tax must be withheld from the stipend allowance at 14%. Those students from tax treaty countries that have a provision for scholarships and fellowships may claim exemption from withholding by applying for a tax treaty
Good Food Bag
The Campus Good Food Bag (GFB) Program led by theAgatston Urban Nutrition Initiative (AUNI), a University Assisted Community Schools (UACS) program of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, is an innovative food sovereignty project designed to address food insecurity and access at Penn. In partnership with the Penn Park Farm, the GFB program connects first-generation undergraduate and graduate students with demonstrated financial need to delicious, locally grown, chemical free produce, recipes and tips.
This program is free to students with demonstrated need thanks to the generous fiduciary support of Penn First Plus, Student Intervention Services and USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Weekly sign-up forms are distributed via social media. Be sure to check the Greenfield Intercultural Center and Grad Center Instagram and Twitter accounts for the link!
Public Food Assistance and Nutrition Programs
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) serves millions of people annually, ensuring that they and their families have access to nutritious food options. The SNAP for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides for the special dietary needs of nursing and pregnant women, infants, and children under the age of five. Additional federal programs can be found on the Benefits.gov Food and Nutrition Page. See additional food assistance programs and food banks below.
Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services offers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, to help low-income households get more food. Applications can be submitted online or filed in person at your county assistance office. For additional information and resources, visit the Department of Human Services website.
The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger connects people with food assistance programs and nutrition education; provides resources to a network of food pantries; and educates the public and policymakers about responsible solutions to food insecurity. If you or someone you know is experiencing food insecurity, you can call the WHY Hunger Hotline at 1-800-5-HUNGRY or visit http://www.auntbertha.com.
- Montgomery County
Visit MontCo Anti-Hunger Network for the latest information on food pantries in Montgomery County.
Food Banks and Pantries
There are a number of local food banks in the area. Many food pantries and banks also accept volunteers and donations.
Local food banks and pantries include:
- Philabundance 3616 South Galloway Street Philadelphia, PA 19148
- Food Bank of South Jersey 1501 John Tipton Blvd. Pennsauken, NJ 08110
- Share Food Program 2901 W. Hunting Park Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19129
- Mary's Cupboard 100 Levittown Parkway Levittown, PA 19054
- Manna on Main Street 606 E. Main Street Lansdale, PA 19446
- Narberth Community Food Bank 201 Sabine Avenue, 2nd Floor Narberth, PA 19072
- St. Mark's United Methodist Church Food Pantry 220 S. Sproul Rd. Broomall, PA 19008
- Chester County Food Bank 650 Pennsylvania Drive Exton, PA 19341
United Way-supported 211Help connects you to a specialist in your area who can put you in touch with organizations that provide critical services like food, housing and utilities programs and more.
Public Assistance Programs
On Benefits.gov, you can find government benefits related to unemployment assistance, healthcare, and food and nutrition. You can also use the Benefit Finder to find additional benefits for which you may be eligible.
If you are facing unemployment or a lapse in employment, the following resources may be available to you:
- Unemployment Insurance provides unemployment benefits to those who lose their job through no fault of their own.
- You may qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance if you do not qualify for other types of unemployment benefits.
- Browse the Unemployment Assistance category and filter by state for unemployment benefits near you.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps provide low-income families with their heating and cooling energy costs. See a state-by-state list of utility assistance programs on the Benefits.gov Housing and Public Utilities Page.
WiFi, Data, and Internet
See this guide to internet and mobile service plans for those with financial need for more information about qualifying for discounts on internet, computers, and resources to stay connected remotely.
The Undergraduate Assembly and the Graduate & Professional Student Assembly provide free legal services to all students in Penn’s community.
The Gittis Legal Clinics are Penn Carey Law School's teaching law firm, comprised of nine in-house clinics that provide low income residents with free or discounted legal services, provided by certified law students under close faculty supervision. The mission of the clinics is to educate students on the skills and intricacies of being a lawyer while serving the legal needs of clients and underserved communities.
Community Legal Services of Philadelphia provides provides legal representation and advice to low-income tenants who are renters in non-subsidized housing in Philadelphia. CLS attorneys and other staff provide a full range of legal services, from individual representation to administrative advocacy to class action litigation, as well as community education and social work.
Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA) provides free civil legal services to low-income individuals and families in Philadelphia. Volunteers assist clients with a variety of legal issues, including family law, foreclosure, public benefits, and more. PLA also provides referrals and support to organizations that coordinate pro bono volunteer lawyers, including Philadelphia VIP and the Consumer Bankruptcy Assistance Project.
The Philadelphia Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) matches clients with carefully screened and well qualified lawyers in the Philadelphia area. LRIS refers to lawyers in more than 160 areas of the law. The initial consultation with any LRIS lawyer, up to 30 minutes, is only $35.00. There will be no upfront consultation fee in matters typically taken on a contingent fee basis. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, LRIS may be able to refer you to a legal aid agency or other resource that may be able to help you for low or no fee.
The Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships has a legal clinic staffed by current Drexel Law students who work with West Philadelphia community members.
Medical and Dental Services
Student Health Services free and low-cost services
All students paying the Clinical Fee or enrolled in Penn Student Health Insurance Plan are eligible to receive medical care and counseling through Wellness Student Health and Counseling. This includes free office visits and an array of free or subsidized services. Learn more here.
Penn Dental Clinic Student Discount
As of September 1st, 2019 the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine committed to help students save more by offering significant student discounts on dental work. Currently-enrolled Penn student can receive a 30% discount on routine preventative dental services and 20% savings on specialty services at the Penn Dental Clinic. All University of Pennsylvania students that do not have dental insurance and who bring their student ID to their dental visit are eligible for these significant discount opportunities. Learn more (PDF)
Please note: students have several insurance and discount options for dental care. PhD and EdD students may also be eligible for a dental insurance grant to help with cost of purchasing the Penn Dental Student Insurance Plan.
Aetna Vital Savings Discount Program
Aetna offers the Vital Savings Discount Program as an option for students to purchase on a voluntary basis. This is a discount program, not insurance. Please note: Penn Faculty Practice does not accept this discount program. Please contact the Penn health insurance Office at 215 746 3535 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
See information about discounted legal and medical services in the section above
Academic technology and software
All Penn students have access to a range of free and discounted technology resources through the University and individual schools. Learn more.
Penn partners with two cellular providers (AT&T Wireless and Verizon Wireless) to provide discounted service to Penn’s faculty, staff, and in some cases, students, entitling them to a service discount. Learn more.
Technology and Equipment Rentals
Students can borrow much more than just books from the Penn Libraries! Check out equipment you may need for papers, projects, or research – or that you just want to try out – ranging from audio recording devices, to binoculars, to VR cameras. Learn more
Arts & Cultural Institutions
Penn students can access a variety of arts & cultural institutions and activities for free with their PennCard, including the Penn Museum, Arthur Ross Gallery, Institution of Contemporary Art, and more! Students can also purchase deeply discounted tickets to performances at Penn Live Arts and at Philadelphia-area arts & cultural institutions as well! Learn more.
3D Printing Service
The Holman Biotech Commons and Education Commons offer free 3D printing for all members of the Penn Community. 3D printing is available for both academic and non-academic projects.
The Penn Libraries collection includes loanable electronic musical instruments accessible to novice and master musicians alike. Find synthesizers, mixers, a laptop preloaded with digital audio software, and even a theremin to fuel your creative projects. Learn more.