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The Pennsylvania State University's campus in University Park, PA is one of the nation's top public academic institutions. In fact, Penn State is considered to be an ivy league caliber institution. PSU's 76,000 undergraduate students are in pursuit of over 600 programs that include 275 majors, 200 minors, and 100 undergraduate certificates. The university also offers 20 associate degrees.

Overview of Pennsylvania State University – Main Campus

Furthermore, since Penn State is a publicly funded institution, students have multiple campuses to choose from. If they need to spend time closer to home, they are sure to find one of the system's 20 campuses nearby. If not, PSU has copious offerings online. PSU's World Campus offers over 150 distance learning programs that lead to degrees or certificates.

When not honing their minds to become the leaders of tomorrow, Penn State students find that the campus offers ample recreational opportunities. The intramural program provides students with fun, competitive sports such as floor hockey, golf, whiffleball, quash, among many more. For less-structured recreation, students can get a workout in one of the four campus fitness centers that provide 210 weekly classes. Students can also find a competitive challenge in the E-sports arena or join one of the many diverse clubs and organizations.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting City: Small
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 15:1
Graduation Rate 71%
Year Founded 1855

Student Enrollment

Total Students91,427


Undergraduate Student

Male 41,093
Female 35,006

Graduate Student

Male 8,277
Female 7,051

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Penn State Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 46,305
Female 49,465


Male 35,655
Female 37,099

Acceptance Rate76%

Male 77%
Female 75%

Enrollment 16,046

Male 8,592
Female 7,454
Application Fee $65
High School GPA Required
High School Rank NA
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Recommended
Recommendations NA
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline December 1
Common Application Accepted Yes

Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

One of the stunning things about Pennsylvania State is the fact that it delivers ivy league caliber academic while still being a publicly-funded institution. Pennsylvania residents thus see a gross cost of only $20,000 for a year of tuition, books, and fees. The cost to an out-of-state student is around $37,000. Since students need to eat and sleep, the total cost of a year that includes room and board is closer to $37,000 for Pennsylvania residents and $54,000 for non-residents.

That low cost is stunning considering the quality of the education provided. However, financial aid packages also bring the cost down considerably. In fact, the average net cost is a mere $25,000 for a year. At the lower end, low-income households pay just under $21,000 and the top income bracket pays only $32,000. These are only averages, too. Individual students who are admitted to Penn State often qualify for many additional scholarships that bring costs down even lower.

Average net price 2018-2019
Net Price $24,724
Average Total Aid $8,678
Students Receiving Financial Aid 73%
Room & Board $11,884

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $18,450
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $35,514
  • Books and Supplies - $1,840
  • Room & Board - $11,884
  • Other - $4,788


It's no stretch to say that Pennsylvania State University's Main Campus provides academic programs that stand out on the global stage. PSU's academics are even considered to be of an equal caliber to the ivy league. However, reputation is not everything. It's also important to consider PSU's educational statistics.

When it comes to retention rates, PSU is outstanding. Their first-time, full-time students return for a second year at a rate of 88%, and 45% of their first-time, part-time students likewise return. That is often considered to mean that these students are satisfied, if not thrilled, with the academic environment, campus resources, and even their access to recreational and wellness activities. In fact, no small part of that success is surely due to the fact that PSU has a student-to-faculty ratio of 15 to 1, reflecting class sizes that are hard to beat in even the smallest colleges.

PSU's graduation rates are also quite impressive. A full 71% of their students graduate. While PSU doesn't post its transfer out rates, it can be surmised that those who don't receive a sheepskin on a PSU stage complete a degree somewhere.

Student Population Total

Student Population 91,427

Evening Classes : Yes
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Engineering Majors 1,881 Total Graduates / 17%
Mechanical Engineering 351 Graduates
Chemical Engineering 228 Graduates
Electrical and Electronics Engineering 205 Graduates
Civil Engineering, General 178 Graduates
All Business Majors 1,636 Total Graduates / 15%
Finance, General 473 Graduates
Accounting 369 Graduates
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 221 Graduates
Hospitality Administration/Management, Other 190 Graduates
All Computer Information Science Majors 1,044 Total Graduates / 10%
Information Science/Studies 589 Graduates
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance 252 Graduates
Computer and Information Sciences, General 18 Graduates
Data Modeling/Warehousing and Database Administration 18 Graduates
All Social Sciences Majors 927 Total Graduates / 9%
Economics, General 496 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 161 Graduates
International Relations and Affairs 137 Graduates
Sociology 40 Graduates
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs 818 Total Graduates / 8%
Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication, Other 296 Graduates
Journalism 228 Graduates
Digital Communication and Media/Multimedia 100 Graduates
Speech Communication and Rhetoric 83 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 52%

Outcome & Salary

As might be expected, Penn State graduates find that their first-rate academic credentials reveal job opportunities that are unmatched. While measuring the value of an education involves many subjective factors, median salary is one objective indicator of how alumni fare with their diplomas. Of the top ten earning PSU graduates, the mining and mineral engineering students report the highest median earnings of $84,000. In fact, PSU's list of their top earning degrees is dominated by alumni with engineering degrees. However, in the middle of that list are the registered nursing students who report a median salary of $68,000.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $44,900
College Grads Average Salary $73,585
College Grads Mid Career Salary $70,600
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $735,850
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,441,850
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $98,896
10 Year Projected ROI $636,954
20 Year Projected ROI $1,342,954
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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