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Donor FAQ

Named Scholarships are established by donors to provide undergraduate financial aid funding to Penn students. These scholarships help the University to offer grant-based financial aid to students. Most Named Scholarships are endowed and are awarded to students in perpetuity. Term scholarships may also be established. All scholarships are need-based and are part of a student’s financial aid package.

Generous Challenge Fund donors significantly enhance Penn’s ability to leverage matching dollars that increase the power of endowed scholarships. Challenge Fund gifts have been a hallmark of the undergraduate financial aid program and a significant factor in its unprecedented fundraising success. A gift of $500,000 can create a Challenge Fund that will encourage up to 10 other donors to make a scholarship gift. Challenge Fund donors are recognized in the same manner as donors who establish endowed funds, and are assigned up to four students each year in perpetuity.

Penn is the largest institution in the country to offer grant-based financial aid. Forty-seven percent of undergraduate students receive financial aid, with an average financial aid package of $56,098.

Penn practices need-blind admissions for North America, meaning an applicant’s finances have no bearing on the admission decision. For all admitted students, regardless of home country, Penn commits to meeting 100 percent of demonstrated financial need and does so through grant-based financial aid. There are only a handful of schools in higher education with such a comprehensive financial aid program.

Pledge payments can be made by visiting the Penn Giving website and searching for your scholarship name.


Gifts may be made in cash, as well as in other forms such as securities, real estate, and personal property. Pledges may be paid over five years.

Future commitments in the form of annuities, bequests, trusts, and retirement plan contributions can also be made.

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Scholarship gifts are tax-deductible for U.S. and Canadian taxpayers. Additionally, taxpayers in Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and some other European countries may be able to make tax-efficient (or “tax-advantaged”) scholarship gifts.

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Scholarship donors receive annual reports personalized for their funds that include information on the students currently benefiting from their generosity. In addition, donors may have the opportunity to meet with scholarship students at Scholarship Celebration events.