Financial Aid is a critical part of student and family life at Penn Engineering; however, only ⅛ of Penn Engineering students are familiar with new financial aid policies. Penn Engineering should take simple, but crucial steps to increase financial aid policy transparency.
Financial aid permits many Penn Engineering students to attend school without the overwhelming pressure of acquiring student loan debt. However, when Student Financial Services (SFS) decided to strictly enforce eight semesters of financial aid starting this academic year, students have been panicking and overwhelmed with misinformation. Penn Engineering Students often require a ninth (or even a tenth) semester to complete their degrees for a bevy of reasons: credit restrictions due to academic probation, making up leaves of absence for mental health reasons, and submatriculation are just a few. These semesters also require financial aid for many students. Although EDAB commends the administration for advocating on students’ behalf for extended financial aid, we believe that there is a gap in communication between the Penn Engineering administration and students regarding the new policies. A recent survey conveys this very well: only about one eighth of students know that extenuating circumstances can allow for extensions in financial aid beyond eight semesters.
True/False: Undergraduate Students are now eligible for only 8 Semesters of financial aid with no exceptions.
Although the Engineering administration cannot directly change undergraduate financial aid policy, EDAB recommends that the administration act in a capacity to increase the transparency of these very policies. Since a large source of student stress stems from tuition payment, something as small as an email or pamphlet, informing students of their rights, can go a long way in easing students’ minds and helping map out their financial obligations while at Penn Engineering.