Summer Waiver Award Program Policy
In order to provide a broad range of summer activities for students who receive financial aid, the University established the Summer Waiver Award Program. Students who are accepted to participate in the program will qualify for a waiver of their expected summer savings contribution. Within the guidelines given below, the University will entirely or partially waive the required contribution for students whose summer activities qualify for the program.
Who is Eligible?
Applicants must be currently enrolled freshmen, sophomores, or juniors who are:
- Currently receiving financial aid.
- Who expect to qualify for financial aid during the academic year 2021-2022.
Please note: Students enrolled in the College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) are not eligible for this program.
A student who receives a full waiver (100%) during one summer is not eligible to participate in future summers. However, a student who receives a partial waiver in a given summer may participate in future summers up to the combined equivalent of a full waiver (100%).
Qualifying Summer Activities
Summer savings waivers may be given to students who are participating in low-paying or unpaid public or community service internships, or performing unpaid work in the private sector related to their academic program or career aspirations (an internship that provides room and board is considered unpaid, if no monetary compensation is received). Examples of programs that do and do not qualify are listed below
- Working for a nonprofit arts organization, such as an orchestra or museum.
- Working for a community service organization, such as a homeless shelter.
- Unpaid or low-paying work, that is academic- or career-related, for a private sector firm.
- Working on an agricultural or community development project in another country.
- Unpaid work for a U.S. government agency.
Do not qualify:
- Independent study in the United States or abroad.
- Activities for which a student receives University course credit, e.g., summer courses or study abroad.
- Traveling abroad without taking classes.
- It involves work for an elected official outside the regular administration of federal, state, or local government.
- Working for a religious organization in an activity whose primary purpose is to evangelize.
Amount of the Award
A student who would not otherwise be eligible for University need-based grant will not necessarily receive grant aid as a result of waiver.
The standard summer savings expectation is $1,800 to $3,200. Students cannot receive a waiver that is larger than the size of their summer savings expectation.
Because federal regulations mandate a specific contribution based on earnings during the previous year, it may not be possible to apply the entire amount of the waiver to summer earnings. In such cases, the student’s self-help component (loan, work-study) for the following year will be adjusted by the remaining amount.
Waiver of summer savings expectation will reduce the overall family contribution, and increase the level of financial need. A student who would be eligible for University need-based grant can expect an increase in the grant to cover the waived summer earnings expectation. The actual award will be applied in two equal installments to the fall and spring bills.
To qualify for a full waiver, an applicant must participate in an eligible activity for at least 12 weeks for at least 35 hours per week (420 hours). Activities of a shorter duration, and/or involving fewer hours per week, will qualify for reduced waivers according to a declining percentage of length of time and number of hours worked.
Example 1: A student works for 10 weeks at a government agency for 30 hours per week. Assuming the work at the agency is approved, the student would receive a waiver of approximately 70% (300 hours/420 hours).
For low-paying internships and work in the private sector, we will further adjust the level of waiver, based on the compensation received.
Example 2: The above student in (Example 1) is living away from home, and receiving $14.00 per hour from the government agency. We would multiply the student’s wage rate by the length of time spent in the activity to come up with an adjusted wage rate of $10.00 per hour (420 hours/$4200). This adjustment takes into consideration the expenses incurred when living away from home and working.
Note: The level of waiver is based on the assumption that the time students have outside of their approved activities can be used to earn additional money to contribute toward their education.
The deadline for applying for a waiver award is August 22, 2021. If applications are received late, we may not be able to consider them. The application can be submitted online and is available at www.sfs.upenn.edu/forms/sumwaiv.php.
Employer Activity Verification Form
To receive the summer waiver award, the student’s employer must at the end of summer submit an Activity Verification Form confirming the student has completed the approved activity. A link to the Verification Form will be sent to the selected participant in the student’s notification e-mail.
Employer Verification Forms must be submitted to the address listed on the form no later than September 30, 2021.