Tuition and Cost to Attend Penn State

Annual Total Cost

The total list price for in-state Pennsylvania residents to go to Penn State is $29,810 for the 2014/2015 academic year. Out-of-state students who don't possess Pennsylvania residence can expect a one year cost of $42,760.

Undergraduate Tuition

Penn State Main Campus tuition is $16,572 per year for in-state residents. This is 158% more expensive than the national average public four year tuition of $6,429. The cost is $7,550 and 31% cheaper than the average Pennsylvania tuition of $24,122 for 4 year colleges. Tuition ranks 49th in Pennsylvania amongst 4 year colleges for affordability and is the 86th most expensive 4 year college in the state. If attending from out-of-state, the tuition is $29,522 which represents a 78% premium.

The school charges an additional fees of $930 in addition to tuition bringing the total effective in-state tuition to $17,502.

Housing Costs

On campus room and board is provided by the school at a cost of $10,548 per academic year. Students electing to live off campus elsewhere in University Park should budget at least this amount.

Books and Supplies

The estimated annual cost for books and supplies is $1,760.

Costs and Tuition for Penn State Main Campus
Expenditure Price
Pennsylvania Resident Total Cost $29,810
   In-State Tuition$16,572
   Other Fees$930
   Room and Board$10,548
   Books and Supplies$1,760
Non-Resident Total Cost $42,760
   Out-of-State Tuition$29,522
   Other Fees$930
   Room and Board$10,548
   Books and Supplies$1,760

All price data are reprinted from the U.S. Department of Education's 2014-2015 and 2013-2014 IPEDS Survey and represent reported costs for the 2014-2015 and 2013-2014 academic years.


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What it Really Costs

Depending on many factors including student and parent income and assets, the total cost of attendance may be less than the $29,810 published price if scholarship or grant aid is made available to you.

Net Price

The net out-of-pocket total cost you end up paying or financing though student loans is known as the net price. The reported Penn State net price for in-state students $23,161* for the 2013/2014 academic year. This net price includes housing and meal expenses.

Pell Grants and other Grant Aid

38% of Penn State Main Campus students received grant aid in 2013/2014. The average total aid amount was $8,285. 14 percent of students received aid in the form of Pell Grants from the U.S. Federal Government. The average Pell Grant awarded for 2013/2014 was $3,894. To apply for a Pell Grant to attend Penn State Main Campus, the first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Net Price and Financial Aid for Penn State Main Campus
Financial Aid Summary
Average Annual Net Price$23,161*
Percent of Students Receiving Grant Aid38%
Average Total Grant Aid$8,285
Percent of Students Receiving Pell Grants14%
Average Amount of Pell Grant Aid$3,894

Average Net Price for In-State Students by Family Income

The average net total cost of attendance for different levels of family income after federal, state or local government, institutional grant and scholarship aid are awarded. Data last reported for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Family Income Avg. Net Price
$0 to $30,000$19,268
$30,001 to $48,000$21,229
$48,001 to $75,000$25,028
$75,001 to $110,000$28,929

Average Financial Aid Mix - $29,810 In-State Total Cost

CollegeCalc has estimated typical coverage of the annual in-state tuition and living expenses of $29,810. Breakdown is based on average grant aid and federal loan aid which will vary based on your family income.


Grants and Scholarships

 28% - $8,285

Money granted to you by the U.S. Department of Education, Penn State Main Campus or other organizations. These are not loans and do not need to be repaid.

Federal Loans

 19% - $5,552

Low interest student loans funded by the U.S. Department of Education. This amount will need to be repaid.

Out of Pocket

 54% -  $15,973

Covered by family savings, work or private student loans which you will have to repay.

*Reported Average Annual Net Price for in state students receiving grant or scholarship aid reported to the U.S. Department of Education's Academic Year 2013-2014 IPEDS Survey. Financial aid is only available to those who qualify. Consult this school's net price calculator for further understanding of your potential net price.

Note that for colleges with no reported on-campus room and board, the average net price has been increased to account for living expenses. This number may not only reflect the net price paid to the school for tuition.

Is it Worth the Cost?

To make a comparative assessment if Penn State is worth the price, measures of it's relative value for tuition dollar can be examined. We've calculated an academic national percentile rating of 86/100 for Penn State Main Campus. Considering an average net price paid of $21,342, this leads to an overall value ranking of 73/100. This places the school 95th on our national Best Value Colleges ranking as a provider of a very high value education compared to actual overall price paid.

Tuition Comparison to Similar Public Colleges in the Region

School Cost vs. Penn State Main Campus
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Campus1.8% more expensive
SUNY at Binghamton62.8% less expensive
University of Maryland College Park54.1% less expensive
SUNY at Geneseo62.8% less expensive
The College of New Jersey36.3% less expensive

Cost of a Degree

When considering ability to pay for college, the annual cost is often discussed but it's the "all in" multi-year degree cost which matters in the end. Let's take a look at what it could really cost for four years at Penn State Main Campus.

Estimated 4 Year Cost at Published Tuition

At the current published rates, an estimated total tuition, fees and living expense price for a 4 year bachelor's degree at Penn State is $119,240 for students graduating in normal time. This methodology for estimating the 4 year cost is a straight multiple of the most recent reported annual total cost and does not factor in tuition increases during the time you're in school. It also assumes you receive no grant or scholarship aid and pay the full list price.

A potentially more accurate but less conservative estimate of a degree cost can be made by using the school's annual $21,342 in-state net price as the basis. Applying this cost over 4 would estimate the cost of a degree at $85,368**

If you end up on the "five year plan" and need an additional year to graduate, your five year cost could be as high as $149,050 or $106,710 using an average net price.

**Based on a 4 year multiple of Average Annual Net Price for in state students receiving grant or scholarship aid reported to the U.S. Department of Education's 2013-2014 IPEDS Survey. Financial aid is only available to those who qualify. Consult this school's net price calculator for further understanding of your potential net price.

Other Costs

Estimated Cost Per Semester

Most colleges don't charge students on an annual basis but instead require payment semester by semester. If you ever need to take an additional semester of classes to complete you degree you shouldn't have to pay for a full academic year. These our estimated costs for a semester at Penn State Main Campus.

Pennsylvania Resident Tuition Per Semester$8,286
Pennsylvania Resident Total Cost Per Semester$14,905
Non-Pennsylvania Resident Tuition Per Semester$14,761
Non-Pennsylvania Resident Total Cost Per Semester$21,380

Cost Per Credit Hour and Cost for a Class

Some schools offer the ability to take single classes by paying on a per credit hour basis. The reported price per credit hour and estimated cost for one class at Penn State Main Campus are as follows. Per credit costs are for reference only as many schools will not allow students to pay by credit hour.

Cost per credit hour and per class at Penn State Main Campus
Price per credit hour for Pennsylvania residents$630
Cost for one class for Pennsylvania residents (3 credit hours)$1,890
Price per credit hour for out of state residents$1,134
Cost for one class for out of state residents (3 credit hours)$3,402
Cost for one class for out of state residents (4 credit hours)$4,536

Student Loans and Debt

The second consideration after understanding the cost of college is determining how to finance it. Some students are fortunate enough to have some form of family financial assistance, but student loans end up financing a significant portion of higher education in the U.S. 48% of Penn State Main Campus students receive U.S. Federal Student Loans with an average annual Federal Loan aid amount of $5,552. The reported average student debt upon graduation is $35,100.

Example Loan Payments and Costs

How much are student loan payments for Penn State Main Campus? Obviously this varies based on a number of factors - offsetting financial aid you receive, percentage of fee you pay upfront while enrolled and the interest rate on your loans. We've modeled a sample student loan based on current Stafford loan rates to give you an approximate idea.

The following are the costs for a loan if you borrowed $85,368, 100% of the estimated average net price for a four year program and paid nothing while enrolled. The total of all payments including interest would sum $105,134.90. This could be your effective total out of pocket cost of an education at Penn State Main Campus. Note that this calculation assumes you don't pay full list price tuition, are part of the reported 38% of students at this school who receive financial aid and you are paying an average annual net price of $21,342. If you do not financially qualify for a reduced net price, your student loan payments could be significantly higher than this example. Use our Penn State Main Campus student loan calculator below to change loan assumptions and recalculate.

Student loans are not free money and must be repaid. You cannot dismiss student loans by via bankruptcy.

Penn State Main Campus Student Loan Payments
Example Payments
Monthly Loan Payment$876.12
Amount Borrowed$85,368.00
Interest Rate4.3%
Term10 years
Number of Monthly Payments120
Total Interest Cost$19,766.90
Sum of All Payments over 10 years$105,134.90

Affording Student Loan Payments and Post Graduation Salary

Can I afford to attend Penn State? In the end, the answer comes down a determination if you will earn enough to comfortably pay back a student loan with your post graduation salary. This is an extremely important point to consider. In order to afford student loan payments and still meet all your other costs of living, it is recommended not to borrow more than you can pay back using 10% of your monthly income earned after graduation. If you're considering attending Penn State Main Campus, you need to carefully consider if it will be realistic to make the post graduation loan payments based on your expected salary.

Using the 10% of salary threshold, an annual income of $105,134.90 would be needed to afford a $876.12 monthly payment in the example $85,368.00 loan modeled above. You will need to determine if it is at all realistic that you will be earning this type of salary after graduation. This assumes a loan payback over 10 years. You can change the terms of this example loan using the student loan calculator below.

Estimated Future Cost and Expected Tuition Increase

What will it cost to send your child to Penn State Main Campus in the future? In the past five years, this school's published in-state tuition and fee total rose from $12,164 to $15,984. This amounts to an average annual price increase of 6.3%. Nationally, university tuition prices are rising around 5% per year. Looking out five, ten, fifteen or eighteen years, these are CollegeCalc's estimates how much you could expect to pay for a 4 year degree assuming tuition increases at the national average rate. Estimated future prices are based on the current in-state 4 year cost of $119,240.00. Use the college savings plan calculator below to perform a more comprehensive analysis on future costs and how much you will need to save for Penn State Main Campus.

Annual4 Year Degree
Estimated Cost in 5 years for students enrolling in 2020$40,996$163,983
Estimated Cost in 10 years for students enrolling in 2025$52,322$209,288
Estimated Cost in 15 years for students enrolling in 2030 $66,778$267,111
Estimated Cost in 18 years for students enrolling in 2033 $77,304$309,214

Tuition History

What was tuition at Penn State five, ten, fifteen or twenty years ago? Hop into our time machine and take a look. Pay attention to how aggressive the school has been with price increases the past as it provides indication as to how the school may raise tuition in the next few years if you enrolled. Historical tuition and fees for all available data years back to 1988 follows.

YearIn-StateOut-of-stateAnnual Increase
2010$14,416$25,946 5.2%
2009$13,706$24,940 6.7%
2008$12,844$23,712 5.6%
2007$12,164$22,712 5.7%
2006$11,508$21,744 6%
2005$10,856$20,784 17.9%
2004$9,206$18,828 9.8%
2003$8,382$17,610 13.3%
2002$7,396$15,522 7.9%
2001$6,852$14,394 6.5%
2000$6,436$13,552 5.6%
1999$6,092$12,908 4.5%
1998$5,832$12,406 3.7%
1997$5,624$11,964 7%
1996$5,258$11,310 4.4%
1995$5,036$10,724 4.4%
1994$4,822$10,170 4.4%
1993$4,618$9,644 4.9%
1992$4,402$9,188 10.5%
1991$3,983$8,275 6.1%
1990$3,754$7,900 4%
1989$3,610$7,248 9.7%
1988$3,292$6,400 9.9%

Comparable Cost for Popular Majors

We've compared the out of state cost of the most popular undergraduate areas of study at Penn State Main Campus to the national average for all other colleges offering the same major. Use this comparison to determine particular programs where this school offers value relative to other colleges.

Area of Study Graduates vs National Avg
Psychology, General Bachelor's Degree 462 20% costlier
Finance, General Bachelor's Degree 438 29% costlier
Marketing/Marketing Management, General Bachelor's Degree 322 31% costlier
Advertising Bachelor's Degree 320 25% costlier
Kinesiology and Exercise Science Bachelor's Degree 311 25% costlier
Journalism Bachelor's Degree 311 25% costlier
Accounting Bachelor's Degree 284 29% costlier
Elementary Education and Teaching Bachelor's Degree 283 35% costlier
Economics, General Bachelor's Degree 276 8% costlier
Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration Bachelor's Degree 254 52% costlier
Mechanical Engineering Bachelor's Degree 253 14% costlier
Speech Communication and Rhetoric Bachelor's Degree 229 21% costlier
Civil Engineering, General Bachelor's Degree 225 14% costlier
Organizational Behavior Studies Bachelor's Degree 224 13% costlier
Biology/Biological Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 222 19% costlier
International Relations and Affairs Bachelor's Degree 209 3% costlier
Political Science and Government, General Bachelor's Degree 179 16% costlier
Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other Bachelor's Degree 177 11% costlier
Biological and Physical Sciences Bachelor's Degree 174 20% costlier
Secondary Education and Teaching Bachelor's Degree 171 31% costlier
Communication Sciences and Disorders, General Bachelor's Degree 158 33% costlier
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services, Other Bachelor's Degree 156 36% costlier
History, General Bachelor's Degree 152 18% costlier
Electrical and Electronics Engineering Bachelor's Degree 150 15% costlier
Human Nutrition Bachelor's Degree 142 17% costlier
English Language and Literature, General Bachelor's Degree 142 20% costlier
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs, Other Bachelor's Degree 136 18% costlier
Parks, Recreation and Leisure Facilities Management, General Bachelor's Degree 135 42% costlier
Geology/Earth Science, General Bachelor's Degree 132 17% costlier
Health/Health Care Administration/Management Bachelor's Degree 129 46% costlier
Industrial Engineering Bachelor's Degree 127 21% costlier
Business/Managerial Economics Bachelor's Degree 125 20% costlier
Chemical Engineering Bachelor's Degree 121 6% costlier
Architectural Engineering Bachelor's Degree 109 14% costlier
Animal Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 104 34% costlier
Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering Bachelor's Degree 103 7% costlier
Spanish Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 98 12% costlier
Mathematics, General Bachelor's Degree 85 18% costlier
Criminal Justice/Safety Studies Bachelor's Degree 72 42% costlier
Labor and Industrial Relations Bachelor's Degree 67 14% costlier
Visual and Performing Arts, General Bachelor's Degree 63 19% costlier
Nuclear Engineering Bachelor's Degree 62 12% costlier
Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Professions, Other Bachelor's Degree 62 33% costlier
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies Associate's Degree 60 112% costlier
Art/Art Studies, General Bachelor's Degree 58 23% costlier
Sociology Bachelor's Degree 58 17% costlier
Film/Cinema/Video Studies Bachelor's Degree 58 3% cheaper
Management Information Systems, General Bachelor's Degree 57 31% costlier
Computer and Information Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 56 31% costlier
Agribusiness/Agricultural Business Operations Bachelor's Degree 56 64% costlier
Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, General Bachelor's Degree 52 21% costlier
Biology Technician/Biotechnology Laboratory Technician Bachelor's Degree 51 10% costlier
Chemistry, General Bachelor's Degree 51 16% costlier
Biochemistry Bachelor's Degree 50 4% costlier
Actuarial Science Bachelor's Degree 50 14% costlier
Natural Resources and Conservation, Other Bachelor's Degree 49 22% costlier
Philosophy Bachelor's Degree 48 7% costlier
Pre-Veterinary Studies Bachelor's Degree 45 23% costlier
Anthropology Bachelor's Degree 42 8% costlier
Landscaping and Groundskeeping Bachelor's Degree 41 49% costlier
French Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 40 5% costlier
Architecture Bachelor's Degree 39 2% costlier
Landscape Architecture Bachelor's Degree 38 20% costlier
Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering Bachelor's Degree 36 5% cheaper
Agriculture, General Bachelor's Degree 35 47% costlier
Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences, Other Bachelor's Degree 35 3% costlier
Physics, General Bachelor's Degree 34 10% costlier
Geography Bachelor's Degree 34 30% costlier
Agricultural Engineering Bachelor's Degree 34 18% costlier
Computer Engineering, General Bachelor's Degree 33 14% costlier
Natural Resources/Conservation, General Bachelor's Degree 32 21% costlier
Petroleum Engineering Bachelor's Degree 32 32% costlier
Materials Science Bachelor's Degree 32 2% cheaper
Music, General Bachelor's Degree 31 17% costlier
Acting Bachelor's Degree 26 9% costlier
Special Education and Teaching, General Bachelor's Degree 26 34% costlier
Art History, Criticism and Conservation Bachelor's Degree 26 1% cheaper
Art Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 26 32% costlier
Engineering Science Bachelor's Degree 26 2% costlier
Pre-Medicine/Pre-Medical Studies Bachelor's Degree 25 14% costlier
Forest Sciences and Biology Bachelor's Degree 25 18% costlier
Toxicology Bachelor's Degree 25 1% cheaper
Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics Bachelor's Degree 25 8% cheaper
Food Science Bachelor's Degree 25 24% costlier
Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering Bachelor's Degree 24 3% costlier
Forensic Science and Technology Bachelor's Degree 24 27% costlier
Environmental Studies Bachelor's Degree 24 1% cheaper
Business/Commerce, General Associate's Degree 24 111% costlier
Statistics, General Bachelor's Degree 23 7% costlier
Veterinary Microbiology and Immunobiology Bachelor's Degree 22 3% costlier
Foreign Language Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 21 24% costlier
Agricultural Mechanization, General Bachelor's Degree 21 44% costlier
Medical Microbiology and Bacteriology Bachelor's Degree 20 37% costlier
Music Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 20 27% costlier
Japanese Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 18 7% cheaper
Athletic Training/Trainer Bachelor's Degree 18 27% costlier
Information Science/Studies Associate's Degree 18 100% costlier
Engineering, Other Bachelor's Degree 16 7% costlier
Graphic Design Bachelor's Degree 15 24% costlier
German Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 13 3% costlier
Dietitian Assistant Associate's Degree 12 107% costlier
Comparative Literature Bachelor's Degree 12 12% cheaper
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse Associate's Degree 11 130% costlier
Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology Bachelor's Degree 11 11% costlier
Surveying Engineering Bachelor's Degree 10 33% costlier
Women's Studies Bachelor's Degree 9 2% costlier
Religion/Religious Studies Bachelor's Degree 9 2% costlier
Mining and Mineral Engineering Bachelor's Degree 9 32% costlier
Horticultural Science Bachelor's Degree 8 31% costlier
Human Development and Family Studies, General Associate's Degree 8 73% costlier
Italian Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 7 6% cheaper
East Asian Studies Bachelor's Degree 7 14% cheaper
Forest Technology/Technician Bachelor's Degree 7 52% costlier
Russian Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 6 7% cheaper
Asian Studies/Civilization Bachelor's Degree 6 7% cheaper
Agricultural Business and Management, Other Associate's Degree 6 74% costlier
Astronomy Bachelor's Degree 6 6% cheaper
Soil Science and Agronomy, General Bachelor's Degree 6 22% costlier
Hospitality Administration/Management, Other Associate's Degree 6 151% costlier
Archeology Bachelor's Degree 5 9% cheaper
Design and Applied Arts, Other Bachelor's Degree 5 16% costlier
Plant Protection and Integrated Pest Management Bachelor's Degree 4 24% costlier
Medieval and Renaissance Studies Bachelor's Degree 4 17% cheaper
Agricultural Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 4 44% costlier
Chinese Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 4 9% cheaper
Adult and Continuing Education Administration Bachelor's Degree 3 29% costlier
African-American/Black Studies Bachelor's Degree 3 2% costlier
Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research, Other Bachelor's Degree 3 3% costlier
Jewish/Judaic Studies Bachelor's Degree 3 1% cheaper
Turf and Turfgrass Management Associate's Degree 2 138% costlier
Latin American Studies Bachelor's Degree 1 8% cheaper
Logistics, Materials, and Supply Chain Management Bachelor's Degree 1 30% costlier
Management Sciences and Quantitative Methods, Other Bachelor's Degree 1 10% costlier
Music Performance, General Bachelor's Degree 1 21% costlier


Use the calculators below to formulate a college savings plan for Penn State Main Campus or model a student loan.

College Savings Calculator

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Discover how much will you need to start saving now to afford Penn State Main Campus in the future.

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Estimate Loan Payments

Modify the loan assumptions to fit your financial situation and likely tuition price. Then calculate your payoff and loan payments for a Penn State Main Campus student loan.

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About Penn State Main Campus

Penn State Main Campus is a four year public college located in University Park, Pennsylvania.  Full time enrollment is 43,106 and part time is 2,127.  For the 2011/2012 school year, the school received 45,502 applicants. 23,855 were admitted and 7,366 enrolled.

Students attending this school may pursue both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Penn State Main Campus
201 Old Main
University Park, Pennsylvania

For Profit / Not For Profit Status

Penn State Main Campus is a public not for profit institution. Public schools often represent the best value for your education dollar, especially when students qualify for in-state tuition.

Penn State Main Campus cost and financial aid data source: U.S. Department of Education https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?id=214777 IPEDS survey data.


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