Penn StatePennsylvania State University, or Penn State, is a public university located in University Park, also known as Happy Valley. Founded in 1855, the school was originally a land-grant institution, meaning that the school was offered money by the state in exchange for offering agricultural courses and research. Today, the school, situated in an urban setting on about 8,000 acres, is well known for its full range of undergraduate and graduate programs. (Especially through the College of Education and the College of Engineering.) Penn State has one of the country’s largest graduate schools, with about 6,500 post-grad students. Penn State offers more than 150 online degree and professional programs to about thousands more students through its World Campus program. The school also places a large importance on research. Over $2 million in research activity takes place every single day at Penn State.

PSUPenn State’s undergraduate program serves nearly 41,000 students. The student to faculty ratio is 14.6 to 1, with about 29% of classes with fewer than 20 students. The school’s most popular majors include business/marketing; engineering; communications/journalism; social sciences; and biological/life sciences. There are also many opportunities for students to join extracurricular activities. Penn State currently offers more than 1,000 organizations and clubs, including Thespians, Blue Band, and Glee Club. The Greek scene thrives and Penn State has one of the largest Greek systems in the country. There are 70 sororities and fraternities. About 17% of men are affiliated with a fraternity and 20% of women with a sorority.

Many students at Penn State become involved in community service. The school holds THON, which is the largest student-run philanthropy organization in the world. About 15,000 students volunteer every year to help raise money for pediatric cancer research and awareness. Students can also work for the newspaper, “The Daily Collegian” or the online edition, “The Digital Collegian.” Penn State students also have a blog called “Onward State.”

Penn State footballOne of the school’s biggest draws is football. The school mascot is the Nittany Lion, named after the lions that used to roam the area. The football team competes in the Division I B1G. Their home games are played at Beaver Stadium, one of the largest stadiums in the country which seats over 107,000. Other sports teams compete in the NCAA Division I-A, Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) for men’s volleyball, Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) for men’s lacrosse, and American Collegiate Hockey Association. Students interested in a large student population and many extracurricular activities should look into Penn State’s programs.


Acceptance Rate

Penn State admission rate

SAT Range (25 to 75 Percentile)

Penn State SAT score

ACT Range (25 to 75 Percentile)

Penn State University ACT test score

Admissions Information

Freshmen Admissions
Number of applicants: 71,903
Enrolled: 8,331
Yield: 23.6%
Acceptance rate: 49.1%

Transfer Admissions
Number of transfer applicants: 1,727
Admitted: 744
Transfer acceptance rate: 43.1%

Waitlist Admissions Statistics
Number of waitlisted applicants: 2,911
Admitted: 1,169
Waitlist acceptance rate: 40.2%

Middle SAT Range (25 to 75 Percentile)
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 580-670
SAT Math: 580-700

Middle ACT Range (25 to 75 Percentile)
ACT Composite: 25-30
ACT English: 24-32
ACT Math: 24-30

Standardized Test Requirements

Penn State requires the SAT/ACT  SAT/ACT not required

PSU does not require the writing portion  Writing portion not required

PSU does not require the SAT subject tests  SAT Subject Tests not required

Score Card

Graduation Rates

PSU graduation rate

Loan Defaults and Rhodes Scholars

Penn State report card

Salary After Attending

R&D Expenditures

Campus Safety

Score Card Information

Graduation Rates
4 years: 67.6%
5 years: 83.7%
6 years: 85.9%

Loan default rate: 4.9%

Total Rhodes Scholars: 2

Salary after attending: $50,100

R&D Expenditures: $854.8 million

Campus Safety
Sex offenses: 57
Robberies: 2
Aggravated assaults: 12
Burglaries: 36
Car thefts: 3
Arsons: 7

Financial Aid

Net Cost and Total Expected Cost of Attendance

Penn State financial aid

Average In State Net Price By Income

Penn State financial aid

Student Debt

Additional Information

In-state tuition, room and board (2020-2021): $30,772

Total Estimated Cost of Attendance (2020-2021)
In-state: $34,219
Out-of-state: $51,753

Net Cost (in-state)
Average: $24,724

By income
$0 to $30,000: $20,814
$30,001 to $48,000: $22,051
$48,001 to $75,000: $25,704
$75,001 to $110,000: $29,852
$110,001 and more: $31,896

Graduates with student debt: 52%

Average student debt at graduation: $40,128

Student Body

Student Residence

Undergraduate Class Sizes

Penn State undergraduate class sizes

Student to Faculty Ratio

Student Population

Additional Information

Student to Faculty Ratio: 14.6 to 1

Women: 46%

Undergraduate Class Sizes
Under 20: 29%
20 to 39: 42%
40 to 99: 21%
100+: 8%

Student Population
Total: 47,223
Undergraduate: 40,693

Student Residence
In State: 56%
Out of State: 34%
International: 10%
Penn State student body

penn state seal

Pennsylvania State University

This page was last updated in August 2020.