Graduate Funding and Finances

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. 

Educational Costs and Financial Support

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. 

Educational Loans

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 at Student Financial and Registration Services (SRFS).

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.

Private Loans 

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.

Important Policies 

Student Registration and Financial Services publishes student policies related to financial aid, student accounts, course registration, and student records. 

    Specialized Grant Programs and Funding

    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.
       
    • 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.
       
    • Take Your Professor / Mentor to Lunch or Dinner 
      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. 
       
    • Community Impact Fund
      Grants of up to $1000 to support graduate student initiatives and activities that address racial, cultural, or gender-based bias. The fund aims to promote a community of mutual respect and intercultural understanding on campus, particularly among graduate and professional students.
       
    • Funding for student groups 
      Visit our student organizations page for information about funding for recognized student groups and organizations. 
       
    • Theme Year Grants 
      Grants of up to $500 for Penn students or groups to to create programming that relates to the annual theme. Priority is given to creative proposals that emphasize scholarly inquiry and academic engagement with the theme.

    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.
       
    • VPUL & SFS Emergency & Opportunity Funding
      Unexpected financial circumstances can cause undergraduate, graduate, and professional students stress and impact their ability to achieve and thrive. The Division of the Vice Provost for University Life's Access and Retention Fund provides one-time Emergency Funds or Opportunity Grants to help low-income and/or first-generation students participate in experiences they otherwise cannot afford.
       
    • 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 for internships
      Many summer internships, particularly in certain fields, provide only a small stipend or do not pay at all. Frequently the internships are located in cities with a high cost of living. This means that many students are unable to take advantage of excellent positions, which are sometimes the first step on a career in a given field. Other students wish to participate in not for profit or NGO work abroad, or to do a research project, but the travel costs to get there are prohibitive.

    Competitive Fellowships & Awards

    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. 

    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. 

    Student Employment

    Visit the Student Employment Office for more information about employment opportunities at Penn. 

    Penn/Federal Work Study

    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.

    Part Time Employment 

    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 comprehensive 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 hire graduate students include: 

    Personal Finance & Financial Wellness

    Penn is committed to providing resources to help you manage your finances.

    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.

    Payroll and Stipends

    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. It is important that staff and faculty follow these policies, as incorrectly paying a student may have financial aid or tax implications.

      Banking Resources  

      If you open a bank account with either PNC Bank or the Student Federal Credit Union, 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
      • Student Federal Credit Union at the University of Pennsylvania, 3401 Walnut 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

      Free Legal Services 

      The Undergraduate Assembly and the Graduate & Professional Student Assembly provide free legal services to all students in Penn’s community.

      Tax Information

      Personal finance resources that grad students may find useful includes:

      Personal Finance InfoGraphics
      from the Council of Graduate Studies (CGS)

      School Contacts

      Penn graduate student costs and funding vary by school and program. Please contact your program administrator or visit the pages below for more details. 

       

      Educational Costs and Financial Support

      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. 

      Educational Loans

      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 at Student Financial and Registration Services (SRFS).

      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.

      Private Loans 

      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.

      Important Policies 

      Student Registration and Financial Services publishes student policies related to financial aid, student accounts, course registration, and student records. 

        Specialized Grant Programs and Funding

        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.
           
        • 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.
           
        • Take Your Professor / Mentor to Lunch or Dinner 
          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. 
           
        • Community Impact Fund
          Grants of up to $1000 to support graduate student initiatives and activities that address racial, cultural, or gender-based bias. The fund aims to promote a community of mutual respect and intercultural understanding on campus, particularly among graduate and professional students.
           
        • Funding for student groups 
          Visit our student organizations page for information about funding for recognized student groups and organizations. 
           
        • Theme Year Grants 
          Grants of up to $500 for Penn students or groups to to create programming that relates to the annual theme. Priority is given to creative proposals that emphasize scholarly inquiry and academic engagement with the theme.

        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.
           
        • VPUL & SFS Emergency & Opportunity Funding
          Unexpected financial circumstances can cause undergraduate, graduate, and professional students stress and impact their ability to achieve and thrive. The Division of the Vice Provost for University Life's Access and Retention Fund provides one-time Emergency Funds or Opportunity Grants to help low-income and/or first-generation students participate in experiences they otherwise cannot afford.
           
        • 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 for internships
          Many summer internships, particularly in certain fields, provide only a small stipend or do not pay at all. Frequently the internships are located in cities with a high cost of living. This means that many students are unable to take advantage of excellent positions, which are sometimes the first step on a career in a given field. Other students wish to participate in not for profit or NGO work abroad, or to do a research project, but the travel costs to get there are prohibitive.

        Competitive Fellowships & Awards

        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. 

        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. 

        Student Employment

        Visit the Student Employment Office for more information about employment opportunities at Penn. 

        Penn/Federal Work Study

        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.

        Part Time Employment 

        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 comprehensive 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 hire graduate students include: 

        Personal Finance & Financial Wellness

        Penn is committed to providing resources to help you manage your finances.

        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.

        Payroll and Stipends

        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. It is important that staff and faculty follow these policies, as incorrectly paying a student may have financial aid or tax implications.

          Banking Resources  

          If you open a bank account with either PNC Bank or the Student Federal Credit Union, 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
          • Student Federal Credit Union at the University of Pennsylvania, 3401 Walnut 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

          Free Legal Services 

          The Undergraduate Assembly and the Graduate & Professional Student Assembly provide free legal services to all students in Penn’s community.

          Tax Information

          Personal finance resources that grad students may find useful includes:

          Personal Finance InfoGraphics
          from the Council of Graduate Studies (CGS)

          School Contacts

          Penn graduate student costs and funding vary by school and program. Please contact your program administrator or visit the pages below for more details.