Cost to Attend Penn State Main Campus

Penn State Main Campus
University Park, Pennsylvania

Annual Costs

Undergraduate Tuition

Penn State Main Campus tuition is $17,416 per year for in-state residents. This is 137% more expensive than the national average public four year tuition of $7,357. The cost is 37% cheaper than the average Pennsylvania tuition of $27,708 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 $34,480 which represents a 98% premium.

The school charges an additional fees of $1,034 in addition to tuition bringing the total effective in-state tuition to $18,450.

Housing Costs

On campus room and board is provided by the school at a cost of $11,884 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 $36,962 for the 2019/2020 academic year. Out-of-state students who don't have Pennsylvania residence can expect a one year cost of $54,026.

Citation: Price data from the U.S. Department of Education's 2020 IPEDS survey response for Penn State Main Campus and represent reported costs for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Costs and Tuition for Penn State Main Campus
Estimated Budgets
Pennsylvania Resident Total Budget $36,962
   In-State Tuition$17,416
   Other Fees$1,034
   Room and Board$11,884
   On-Campus Other Budget$4,788
   Books and Supplies$1,840
Non-Resident Total Budget $54,026
   Out-of-State Tuition$34,480
   Other Fees$1,034
   Room and Board$11,884
   On-Campus Other Budget$4,788
   Books and Supplies$1,840
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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 $36,962 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 $24,724* for the 2018/2019 academic year. This net price includes housing and meal expenses.

Pell Grants and other Grant Aid

50% of Penn State Main Campus students received grant aid in 2018/2019. The average total aid amount was $8,678. 22 percent of students received aid in the form of Pell Grants from the U.S. Federal Government. The average Pell Grant awarded for 2018/2019 was $4,625. 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$24,724*
Percent of Students Receiving Grant Aid50%
Average Total Grant Aid$8,678
Percent of Students Receiving Pell Grants22%
Average Amount of Pell Grant Aid$4,625

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 2018/2019 academic year.

Family Income Avg. Net Price
$0 to $30,000$20,814
$30,001 to $48,000$22,051
$48,001 to $75,000$25,704
$75,001 to $110,000$29,852

Average Financial Aid Mix - $36,962 In-State Total Cost

CollegeCalc has estimated typical coverage of the annual in-state tuition and living expenses of $36,962. Breakdown is based on average grant aid and federal loan aid which will vary based on your family income.

Grants and Scholarships
27% - $8,678

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% - $5,341

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

Out of Pocket
56% -  $18,155

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 2018/2019 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 72/100 for Penn State Main Campus. Considering an average net price paid of $21,342, this leads to an overall value ranking of 52/100. This places the school 505th 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 Campus7% more expensive
SUNY at Binghamton59.4% less expensive
University of Delaware26.9% less expensive
George Mason University48% less expensive
James Madison University58.4% 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 $147,848 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 $184,810 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 2018/2019 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$18,481
Non-Pennsylvania Resident Tuition Per Semester$17,240
Non-Pennsylvania Resident Total Cost Per Semester$27,013

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$1,437
Cost for one class for out of state residents (3 credit hours)$4,311
Cost for one class for out of state residents (4 credit hours)$5,748

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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. 51% of Penn State Main Campus students receive U.S. Federal Student Loans with an average annual Federal Loan aid amount of $5,341.

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 $97,740.59. 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 50% 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$814.50
Amount Borrowed$85,368.00
Interest Rate2.75%
Term10 years
Number of Monthly Payments120
Total Interest Cost$12,372.59
Sum of All Payments over 10 years$97,740.59

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 $97,740.59 would be needed to afford a $814.50 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 $16,572 to $17,416. This amounts to an average annual price increase of 1%. 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 $147,848.00. 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 2026$50,831$203,325
Estimated Cost in 10 years for students enrolling in 2031$64,875$259,501
Estimated Cost in 15 years for students enrolling in 2036 $82,799$331,196
Estimated Cost in 18 years for students enrolling in 2039 $95,850$383,401


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 IPEDS survey data. Data last updated January 2021 and reflects academic year 2019/2020 costs reported by the school.