Annual Costs

Undergraduate Tuition

Penn State Main Campus tuition is $17,416 per year for in-state residents. This is 142% more expensive than the national average public four year tuition of $7,203. The cost is 36% cheaper than the average Pennsylvania tuition of $27,215 for 4 year colleges. Tuition ranks 47th in Pennsylvania amongst 4 year colleges for affordability and is the 83rd most expensive 4 year college in the state. If attending from out-of-state, the tuition is $33,820 which represents a 94% premium.

The school charges an additional fees of $1,038 in addition to tuition bringing the total effective in-state tuition to $18,454.

Housing Costs

On campus room and board is provided by the school at a cost of $11,570 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 $1,840.

Other Living Expenses

If living on-campus, students should budget for $4,788 in additional living expenses. Off-campus students should budget for $4,788 in other miscellaneous living expenses.

Total Costs

The total tuition and living expense budget for in-state Pennsylvania residents to go to Penn State is $36,652 for the 2018/2019 academic year. Out-of-state students who don't have Pennsylvania residence can expect a one year cost of $53,056.

Citation: Price data from the U.S. Department of Education's 2018-2019 and 2017-2018 IPEDS survey response for Penn State Main Campus and represent reported costs for the 2016-2017 and 2015-2016 academic years.

Costs and Tuition for Penn State Main Campus
Estimated Budgets
Pennsylvania Resident Total Budget $36,652
   In-State Tuition$17,416
   Other Fees$1,038
   Room and Board$11,570
   On-Campus Other Budget$4,788
   Books and Supplies$1,840
Non-Resident Total Budget $53,056
   Out-of-State Tuition$33,820
   Other Fees$1,038
   Room and Board$11,570
   On-Campus Other Budget$4,788
   Books and Supplies$1,840


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 $36,652 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 is $25,346* for the 2014/2015 academic year. This net price includes housing and meal expenses.

Pell Grants and other Grant Aid

34% of Penn State Main Campus students received grant aid in 2014/2015. The average total aid amount was $10,060. 13 percent of students received aid in the form of Pell Grants from the U.S. Federal Government. The average Pell Grant awarded for 2014/2015 was $4,340. 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$25,346*
Percent of Students Receiving Grant Aid34%
Average Total Grant Aid$10,060
Percent of Students Receiving Pell Grants13%
Average Amount of Pell Grant Aid$4,340

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 published for the 2014/2015 academic year.

Family Income Avg. Net Price
$0 to $30,000$21,514
$30,001 to $48,000$22,101
$48,001 to $75,000$26,602
$75,001 to $110,000$32,131

Average Financial Aid Mix - $36,652 In-State Total Cost

CollegeCalc has estimated typical coverage of the annual in-state tuition and living expenses of $36,652. Breakdown is based on average grant aid and federal loan aid which will vary based on your family income.


Grants and Scholarships

 32% - $10,060

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

 17% - $5,415

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

Out of Pocket

 51% -  $16,389

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 2014-2015 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 85/100 for Penn State Main Campus. Considering an average net price paid of $21,342, this leads to an overall value ranking of 70/100. This places the school 97th 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 Campus4.1% more expensive
The College of New Jersey25.7% less expensive
Rutgers University New Brunswick31.8% less expensive
CUNY Bernard M Baruch College61.4% less expensive
State University of New York at New Paltz60.6% 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 $146,608 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 $183,260 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 2014-2015 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$8,708
Pennsylvania Resident Total Cost Per Semester$18,326
Non-Pennsylvania Resident Tuition Per Semester$16,910
Non-Pennsylvania Resident Total Cost Per Semester$26,528

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$726
Cost for one class for Pennsylvania residents (3 credit hours)$2,178
Price per credit hour for out of state residents$1,409
Cost for one class for out of state residents (3 credit hours)$4,227
Cost for one class for out of state residents (4 credit hours)$5,636


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. 46% of Penn State Main Campus students receive U.S. Federal Student Loans with an average annual Federal Loan aid amount of $5,415. 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 $105,922.11. 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 34% 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$882.68
Amount Borrowed$85,368.00
Interest Rate4.5%
Term10 years
Number of Monthly Payments120
Total Interest Cost$20,554.11
Sum of All Payments over 10 years$105,922.11

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 $105,922.11 would be needed to afford a $882.68 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 four years, this school's published in-state tuition and fee total rose from $15,562 to $17,416. This amounts to an average annual price increase of 2.4%. 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 $146,608.00. 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 2025$50,405$201,620
Estimated Cost in 10 years for students enrolling in 2030$64,331$257,324
Estimated Cost in 15 years for students enrolling in 2035 $82,105$328,418
Estimated Cost in 18 years for students enrolling in 2038 $95,046$380,185

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 31% costlier
Finance, General Bachelor's Degree 438 43% costlier
Marketing/Marketing Management, General Bachelor's Degree 322 46% costlier
Advertising Bachelor's Degree 320 36% costlier
Kinesiology and Exercise Science Bachelor's Degree 311 38% costlier
Journalism Bachelor's Degree 311 37% costlier
Accounting Bachelor's Degree 284 43% costlier
Elementary Education and Teaching Bachelor's Degree 283 50% costlier
Economics, General Bachelor's Degree 276 19% costlier
Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration Bachelor's Degree 254 66% costlier
Mechanical Engineering Bachelor's Degree 253 25% costlier
Speech Communication and Rhetoric Bachelor's Degree 229 34% costlier
Civil Engineering, General Bachelor's Degree 225 25% costlier
Organizational Behavior Studies Bachelor's Degree 224 25% costlier
Biology/Biological Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 222 31% costlier
International Relations and Affairs Bachelor's Degree 209 13% costlier
Political Science and Government, General Bachelor's Degree 179 28% costlier
Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other Bachelor's Degree 177 20% costlier
Biological and Physical Sciences Bachelor's Degree 174 31% costlier
Secondary Education and Teaching Bachelor's Degree 171 45% costlier
Communication Sciences and Disorders, General Bachelor's Degree 158 47% costlier
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services, Other Bachelor's Degree 156 50% costlier
History, General Bachelor's Degree 152 30% costlier
Electrical and Electronics Engineering Bachelor's Degree 150 26% costlier
Human Nutrition Bachelor's Degree 142 26% costlier
English Language and Literature, General Bachelor's Degree 142 32% costlier
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs, Other Bachelor's Degree 136 30% costlier
Parks, Recreation and Leisure Facilities Management, General Bachelor's Degree 135 57% costlier
Geology/Earth Science, General Bachelor's Degree 132 28% costlier
Health/Health Care Administration/Management Bachelor's Degree 129 62% costlier
Industrial Engineering Bachelor's Degree 127 32% costlier
Business/Managerial Economics Bachelor's Degree 125 32% costlier
Chemical Engineering Bachelor's Degree 121 16% costlier
Architectural Engineering Bachelor's Degree 109 25% costlier
Animal Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 104 45% costlier
Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering Bachelor's Degree 103 17% costlier
Spanish Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 98 23% costlier
Mathematics, General Bachelor's Degree 85 29% costlier
Criminal Justice/Safety Studies Bachelor's Degree 72 56% costlier
Labor and Industrial Relations Bachelor's Degree 67 23% costlier
Visual and Performing Arts, General Bachelor's Degree 63 31% costlier
Nuclear Engineering Bachelor's Degree 62 23% costlier
Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Professions, Other Bachelor's Degree 62 46% costlier
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies Associate's Degree 60 139% costlier
Art/Art Studies, General Bachelor's Degree 58 35% costlier
Sociology Bachelor's Degree 58 29% costlier
Film/Cinema/Video Studies Bachelor's Degree 58 5% costlier
Management Information Systems, General Bachelor's Degree 57 44% costlier
Computer and Information Sciences, General Bachelor's Degree 56 44% costlier
Agribusiness/Agricultural Business Operations Bachelor's Degree 56 77% costlier
Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, General Bachelor's Degree 52 32% costlier
Biology Technician/Biotechnology Laboratory Technician Bachelor's Degree 51 23% costlier
Chemistry, General Bachelor's Degree 51 27% costlier
Biochemistry Bachelor's Degree 50 14% costlier
Actuarial Science Bachelor's Degree 50 26% costlier
Natural Resources and Conservation, Other Bachelor's Degree 49 32% costlier
Philosophy Bachelor's Degree 48 17% costlier
Pre-Veterinary Studies Bachelor's Degree 45 33% costlier
Anthropology Bachelor's Degree 42 17% costlier
Landscaping and Groundskeeping Bachelor's Degree 41 63% costlier
French Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 40 15% costlier
Architecture Bachelor's Degree 39 11% costlier
Landscape Architecture Bachelor's Degree 38 30% costlier
Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering Bachelor's Degree 36 4% costlier
Agriculture Bachelor's Degree 35 62% costlier
Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences, Other Bachelor's Degree 35 14% costlier
Physics, General Bachelor's Degree 34 21% costlier
Geography Bachelor's Degree 34 44% costlier
Agricultural Engineering Bachelor's Degree 34 28% costlier
Computer Engineering, General Bachelor's Degree 33 25% costlier
Natural Resources/Conservation, General Bachelor's Degree 32 32% costlier
Petroleum Engineering Bachelor's Degree 32 40% costlier
Materials Science Bachelor's Degree 32 5% costlier
Music, General Bachelor's Degree 31 28% costlier
Acting Bachelor's Degree 26 20% costlier
Special Education and Teaching, General Bachelor's Degree 26 49% costlier
Art History, Criticism and Conservation Bachelor's Degree 26 8% costlier
Art Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 26 46% costlier
Engineering Science Bachelor's Degree 26 11% costlier
Pre-Medicine/Pre-Medical Studies Bachelor's Degree 25 23% costlier
Forest Sciences and Biology Bachelor's Degree 25 25% costlier
Toxicology Bachelor's Degree 25 12% costlier
Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics Bachelor's Degree 25 0% costlier
Food Science Bachelor's Degree 25 35% costlier
Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering Bachelor's Degree 24 12% costlier
Forensic Science and Technology Bachelor's Degree 24 39% costlier
Environmental Studies Bachelor's Degree 24 9% costlier
Business/Commerce, General Associate's Degree 24 140% costlier
Statistics, General Bachelor's Degree 23 18% costlier
Veterinary Microbiology and Immunobiology Bachelor's Degree 22 13% costlier
Foreign Language Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 21 38% costlier
Agricultural Mechanization, General Bachelor's Degree 21 62% costlier
Medical Microbiology and Bacteriology Bachelor's Degree 20 53% costlier
Music Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 20 40% costlier
Japanese Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 18 1% costlier
Athletic Training/Trainer Bachelor's Degree 18 41% costlier
Information Science/Studies Associate's Degree 18 139% costlier
Engineering, Other Bachelor's Degree 16 18% costlier
Graphic Design Bachelor's Degree 15 31% costlier
German Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 13 13% costlier
Dietitian Assistant Associate's Degree 12 135% costlier
Comparative Literature Bachelor's Degree 12 5% cheaper
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse Associate's Degree 11 163% costlier
Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology Bachelor's Degree 11 23% costlier
Surveying Engineering Bachelor's Degree 10 49% costlier
Religion/Religious Studies Bachelor's Degree 9 12% costlier
Women's Studies Bachelor's Degree 9 12% costlier
Mining and Mineral Engineering Bachelor's Degree 9 40% costlier
Horticultural Science Bachelor's Degree 8 44% costlier
Human Development and Family Studies, General Associate's Degree 8 95% costlier
Italian Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 7 2% costlier
East Asian Studies Bachelor's Degree 7 7% cheaper
Forest Technology/Technician Bachelor's Degree 7 59% costlier
Russian Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 6 1% costlier
Agricultural Business and Management, Other Associate's Degree 6 103% costlier
Asian Studies/Civilization Bachelor's Degree 6 1% costlier
Astronomy Bachelor's Degree 6 2% costlier
Soil Science and Agronomy, General Bachelor's Degree 6 35% costlier
Hospitality Administration/Management, Other Associate's Degree 6 188% costlier
Archeology Bachelor's Degree 5 1% cheaper
Design and Applied Arts, Other Bachelor's Degree 5 24% costlier
Plant Protection and Integrated Pest Management Bachelor's Degree 4 33% costlier
Agricultural Teacher Education Bachelor's Degree 4 60% costlier
Medieval and Renaissance Studies Bachelor's Degree 4 11% cheaper
Chinese Language and Literature Bachelor's Degree 4 2% cheaper
Adult and Continuing Education Administration Bachelor's Degree 3 40% costlier
African-American/Black Studies Bachelor's Degree 3 13% costlier
Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research, Other Bachelor's Degree 3 13% costlier
Jewish/Judaic Studies Bachelor's Degree 3 7% costlier
Turf and Turfgrass Management Associate's Degree 2 163% costlier
Latin American Studies Bachelor's Degree 1 0% costlier
Logistics, Materials, and Supply Chain Management Bachelor's Degree 1 46% costlier
Management Sciences and Quantitative Methods, Other Bachelor's Degree 1 25% costlier
Music Performance, General Bachelor's Degree 1 33% costlier


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

College Savings Calculator

Plan and Save for College

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

Student Loan Calculator

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.

Prepayment Option

About Penn State Main Campus

Penn State Main Campus is a four year public college located in University Park, Pennsylvania.  Full time enrollment is 45,140 and part time is 1,670. Learn more about getting accepted at Penn State Main Campus at CollegeSimply.

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.