COVID-19 Updates and Resources
Student Registration & Financial Services understands that this may be a time of great uncertainty and financial anxiety. We know that these are challenging times, and we are encouraged by the University community’s resiliency and by the individual conversations our staff have had with many of you in the past weeks. Please continue to rely on us and other Penn resources for support.
We will use this page to share updates and highlight resources that may be helpful to you and your family at this time as they become available. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Student Financial Services continues to be available to returning students for financial aid consultations during the remote summer semester. Please see below for several updates on returning undergraduate student aid packages for 2020-2021.
Returning Student Financial Aid Packages
Student Financial Services is currently processing 2020-2021 financial aid applications for returning undergraduate students. As Penn most recently wrote in a campus-wide email on May 21, the University is considering several options for the Fall 2020 semester. We anticipate that we will begin posting packages on Penn InTouch soon after the University announces its final plans no later than the end of June.
Students who have not yet submitted their financial aid application for 2020-2021 are encouraged to do so as soon as possible. You can find financial aid checklists on our website. We process applications in the order that they are received.
Financial Aid Reevaluations Related to COVID-19
Federal and institutional financial aid applications ask families to submit prior prior year tax information to help schools determine demonstrated financial need. Normally, this is a convenience, as it allows families to submit their applications earlier without waiting for current year tax documentation. But as a result of COVID-19, this means that your financial aid application may reflect past financial circumstances different from those your family faces today. We are providing guidance below on how we are handling returning undergraduate requests for reevaluation related to COVID-19.
Returning undergraduate students should first plan to submit their full financial aid application as usual if they have not done so already. Follow the directions on our financial aid checklists to ensure that you are providing everything we need to make an initial determination. If your family has experienced significant financial changes that were not reflected in any of your application materials, you may submit a request for reevaluation form after you receive your initial award.
For reevaluation requests related to COVID-19, we may not be able to make a final determination immediately, as we expect family financial situations will continue to fluctuate over the coming weeks and months—for better or for worse. We will request documentation that indicates whether the financial changes are of a short- or long-term nature. This approach ensures that our reevaluation decision will reflect the full extent of the impact your family faces.
We thank you for your patience, as we anticipate receiving a large number of such requests in the months to come.
SRFS began applying spring semester housing and dining credits to student accounts on April 22. These credits will appear immediately in Penn.Pay and on the May billing statement. The credit first satisfies any outstanding balances on the student account, and any remainder is refunded to the student via the preferred refund method indicated in Penn.Pay.
Credits for international students with no U.S. bank account will remain on the student account to be applied to future charges unless the student contacts Student Accounts to make other arrangements.
Dining credits were based on the total number of remaining swipes (calculated at the cost-per-swipe of their plan) and remaining Dining Dollars (at a dollar-for-dollar ratio). Students who added swipes or Dining Dollars received a reimbursement at the purchase price.
Housing credits are based on two factors:
- Housing charges covering the period of March 17 through May 13
- For aided students, a further proration based on a student’s Expected Family Contribution (visible in Penn InTouch) as a percentage of the standard 2019-2020 cost of attendance ($78,186)
This proration identifies a family’s overall cost share toward Penn’s annual cost of attendance, which includes billed expenses like tuition, fees, housing, and dining, and unbilled expenses like transportation, books/supplies, and personal expenses.
While you are living and learning remotely, we encourage you to take advantage of some of our virtual financial wellness resources, which you can find at www.srfs.upenn.edu/financial-wellness. To celebrate Financial Literacy Month, we are also launching a social media campaign featuring familiar faces across campus reflecting on what they wish they knew about personal finance when they were in college. Follow us at @finwellatpenn on Instagram or Facebook and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
The deadline for students to designate any enrolled Spring 2020 course Pass/Fail has been extended to April 29, 2020 at 11:59pm. For additional details on how to designate a course as Pass/Fail, visit the Student Grades page.
To account for the disruption that students and families may be facing as a result of COVID-19, SRFS is delaying the recommended deadline for undergraduate students to submit their 2020-2021 financial aid applications by a month. The new recommended deadline for completing your financial aid application is May 15, 2020.
You can review the financial aid checklist for your student population on our website. We hope that this extra time is helpful in gathering the materials you need to complete your applications.
If you lived in on-campus housing and/or had a meal plan, you should have recently received a communication outlining Penn’s approach to crediting your student account for the remainder of the semester. SRFS is working with our colleagues in Housing and Dining to process these credits.
Our colleagues in the Office of Penn First Plus have prepared a guide of resources and advice specifically tailored for first-generation and/or lower-income students navigating the Penn remote learning experience. Regardless of your family’s financial situation, we encourage you to review this guide and reach out to any of the listed resources for support.
If you have questions or suggestions related to the guide, you can contact Penn First Plus directly at email@example.com.
SRFS is operating and serving students remotely, and we encourage you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns about your financial aid or student account. We also continue to work with our partners in Penn First Plus and VPUL/Student Intervention Services to evaluate requests we receive for emergency funding related to COVID-19. All requests we receive are assessed individually, taking into account a student’s overall financial need while also considering any extenuating circumstances.
The federal government gives universities the option to continue paying students their work-study wages during disruptions caused by COVID-19, and Penn has extended that guidance to cover all student workers (undergraduate, graduate, and professional students with non-work-study jobs) outside of the work-study program as well.
Please review Student Employment's COVID-19 Work-Study/Student Worker Supervisor FAQ for more information.