Penn State is a public university that receives some funding from the government and from taxpayers. There is, at this time, essentially no financial aid available for international undergraduate students.  U.S. Citizenship or legal permanent residency is a requirement for federal funds; Pennsylvania residency is a further requirement for state funds.

Tuition Grants

General Information

Penn State University has authorized two scholarship funds that provide a limited number of tuition grants exclusively for international students: The Special International Grant-in-Aid (SIGIA) and the Penn State Tuition Assistance Grant (PSTAG). These funds are administered through the Directorate of International Student and Scholar Advising (DISSA) of Global Programs. Although tuition grants are available for graduate students from other sources, these are the only tuition scholarships for which undergraduate international students are eligible. Typically, these grants range from $100 to $2000.
The application form can be obtained from iStart. While SIGIA is available to both graduate and undergraduate international students, PSTAG is available only to undergraduates. The application should be completed (including the endorsement by your academic adviser) by:

  • October 15 - (for spring grants)

  • June 15 - (for fall grant)

All applications will be reviewed by a staff committee. Upon selection of awardees, a ISSA representative will notify the applicant of his/her nomination or non-selection. The grants may be divided to accommodate a large number of applicants.


Only non-immigrant international students attending Penn State and its 22 Commonwealth campuses are eligible to apply for these grants. Students who hold immigrant (permanent resident) visas are eligible for other sources of financial aid and should contact Penn State Student Aid.
These grants are awarded on a semester-by-semester basis. A student may apply as often as he or she desires. Acceptance or refusal of the grant for any given semester has no effect on future applications.


Grants are awarded based upon severity of financial need, quality of academic work, and the academic adviser's endorsement.   
Students in their first year at Penn State or those who possess a below-standard GPA (minimum of 3.0 for graduate students; minimum 2.0 for undergraduate students) will NOT be considered. 

Other criteria that may be considered are:

  1. Completeness of the application including providing detailed information on the nature of the financial need

  2. Length of study and the number of semesters remaining to complete the degree program

  3. Registration status at the time of the grant disbursement

  4. The original financial guarantee

  5. How recently the applicant began the program of study

  6. What the student has done to improve the financial situation including evidence of loans, etc.

  7. Strength of academic adviser's letter

  8. Immigration status and whether the immigration status requires enrollment

  9. Number of times the person has applied and how many times the person has been awarded

  10. Previous financial transactions with the University (e.g. emergency loans)

  11. Employment