Penn State was born out of a revolution in higher education. Its founders believed that the children of farmers and laborers deserved the opportunity to become educated leaders in their professions and their communities, and the University remains committed to a tradition of access and affordability. Because of rising costs, though, too many undergraduates are juggling full-time course loads with full-time jobs, ultimately delaying their degrees and their careers. Many graduate with extraordinary burdens of debt—and many others, daunted by their financial challenges, don’t graduate at all and must find a way to pay their student loans without the benefit of a degree. Both undergraduate and graduate students of extraordinary ability who could thrive at Penn State are sometimes forced to choose other institutions because of economic realities. Philanthropy from alumni and friends can help Penn State to lead the next revolution in higher education: keeping our doors open to students from every background and ensuring that they graduate on time and on track to success.
Opening Doors at Penn State Altoona
In 1939, a passionate group of citizens inspired the public support and necessary funding to bring undergraduate education to the Altoona region. Their enthusiasm and dedication still guide us today, as we continue to grow our legacy of teaching, research, and service. Our mission to engage, inspire, and prepare students for success is only meaningful, however, if we keep our degree programs accessible to all aspiring scholars. With an average student loan debt of $40,000 and over 30 percent of our students the first in their family to attend college, many carry financial burdens and obligations that can compromise their education and their future. Scholarships are the best way to provide significant support, enrich the campus’s diverse culture, and ensure that Penn State Altoona remains an educational leader in our community and beyond.
Our Campaign Priorities
Need-based undergraduate scholarships
For many Altoona undergraduate students, from single parents returning to school to military veterans to people whose families have been hit hard by changes in the economy, our degrees represent paths to a brighter future. Yet without additional support, a Penn State education often remains out of reach. Need-based scholarships offer alumni and friends of Penn State Altoona the opportunity to create awards that reflect individual passions and areas of interest while also helping students launch successful careers and rewarding lives.
Merit-based undergraduate scholarships
Endowed scholarships awarded for academic excellence provide lasting support and incentives to Penn State Altoona’s highest-achieving students, especially those from middle-income families who receive little to no aid from the federal government. Merit-based scholarships reward our students’ hard work, challenge them to strive for ambitious academic goals, and allow Penn State Altoona to attract talented undergraduates who will grow into future leaders for our region and beyond.
Annual undergraduate scholarships
Alumni and friends can also support both need-based and merit-based scholarships on an annual basis, providing the resources necessary to recruit and retain a diverse and talented student body. Annual scholarships allow us to respond quickly to the changing needs of our students, and our supporters can see the immediate impact of their philanthropy on the lives of the students and community.
Emergency assistance fund
Penn State Altoona students, especially those who already struggle with the cost of tuition, sometimes face financial challenges that threaten to derail their education. A parent’s job loss, a personal or family member’s illness, or a natural disaster that hits home can preclude the student’s degree completion. Emergency scholarships serve as a “lifeline” for these students, helping to keep them enrolled and on the path to achieving their educational and life dreams.
Your Support, Our Future
With the help of alumni and friends, we can achieve the important goals of A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence and ensure that all students experience the full value of a Penn State degree. Scholarships awarded on the basis of financial need or personal achievement will increase the support available for our ambitious students from all economic backgrounds, and our emergency assistance fund will ensure that no student’s dreams are compromised by financial concerns. Your gifts can keep the door open to a brighter future for Penn State Altoona students by engaging, inspiring, and preparing them for success.