Academic Scholarships

Access and Affordability

Providing access and helping you afford your Penn State education are top priorities for the University and the College of the Liberal Arts. Thanks to the generosity of Liberal Arts alumni and friends, the college offers many need-based scholarships for students with at least one Liberal Arts undergraduate major enrolled at Penn State University Park. A single application serves for all general need-based scholarships offered through the Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies.

Staci Kelly, student awards coordinator for the College of the Liberal Arts, sits at a table with a laptop and papers across from Christopher Elish, a student she’s meeting with, in the Chaiken Center for Student Success.
Staci Kelly, student awards coordinator for the College of the Liberal Arts, meets with student Christopher Elish in the Chaiken Center for Student Success.

Get ready to apply for a Liberal Arts scholarship

  • Must demonstrate financial need, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA must be filed with the Office of Student Aid for consideration of a need-based scholarship.
  • Personal statement (maximum of 1,000 words). Help the selection committee learn more about you. Include academic achievements, extracurricular activities, community involvement, leadership examples, career goals, and things that set you apart from others.
  • Your résumé. Accepted formats are MS Word (.doc or .docx) or Adobe PDF (.pdf) files.

To apply for and maintain a need-based scholarship, undergraduate students must meet the following requirements.

  • Maintain a full-time course load at the University Park campus (12 or more credits per semester during the fall and spring only, summers not included). Note: If you are planning to participate in an education abroad experience during the academic year (fall or spring) of desired enrollment, please email regarding scholarship eligibility.
  • Declare a major or pre-major in the College of the Liberal Arts.
  • Maintain a successful grade-point average. A grade-point average of at least 3.00 is required for most scholarships. If you have questions about this requirement, please contact
  • Maintain a demonstrated financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file with the Office of Student Aid.
  • Continue to meet the specific requirements of the scholarship, which may include, but are not limited to, desire to pursue public, community, or government services; leadership; or outstanding academics.

Returning and continuing University Park students: The priority application period for first consideration is January 1–April 1 of the calendar year of desired fall enrollment. Non-priority applications submitted after April 1 will be considered in the order they are received, depending on fund availability.

Incoming first-year students: A single application serves for all need-based scholarships offered through the Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of the Liberal Arts, but Liberal Arts scholarship support for first-year undergraduate students new to Penn State University Park beginning fall 2023 is already fully committed. Incoming first-year students may still request an application for future consideration by sending your nine-digit Penn State identification number to to verify eligibility for a need-based scholarship application. Unfunded applications remain on file for the academic year and may be considered if additional funds become available. Only recipients are notified of receiving a scholarship. Submitting a scholarship application does not guarantee that a scholarship will be granted; nor are they automatically renewed after an initial award. Students must apply and await a decision regarding these scholarships each year they remain eligible. Scholarship amounts vary year to year depending on available funds, so we recommend students should not make decisions based upon anticipated scholarship funding.

Transfer students (from other Penn State campuses or outside of Penn State): All students must meet the criteria of full-time status at Penn State University Park with at least one major in the College of the Liberal Arts, a demonstrated financial need based on their FAFSA, and a successful grade-point average of 2.50 or higher. Please contact for assistance.

It is important to note that undergraduate scholarships are not guaranteed upon submission of a scholarship application, nor are they automatically renewed. Students must re-apply and await a decision regarding these scholarships for each year they remain eligible. Scholarship amounts vary from year to year depending on fund availability.

When you visit the scholarship application database, you’ll notice that your basic information has been pulled into the database from LionPATH. Some of this information can be updated in the database, but some of it cannot. Any information that is not editable by you in the database must be updated in LionPATH.

Apply Now for an academic scholarship

If your application is successful, you will be notified about your award via your Penn State email address. Typically, one-half of your award will be credited to your student account in the fall semester, and the second half will be awarded in the spring semester, unless it is a one-semester award. If you do not receive a scholarship notification before the start of fall or spring enrollment, your application will remain on file for the academic year and may be considered if additional funds become available.

The scholarship I received from the College of the Liberal Arts was immensely important because it allowed me to focus entirely on my studies without having to devote time and energy to a part-time job. Before having been awarded this scholarship, I held a part-time job at FedEx, where I would lift and load boxes for five hours a day, three days a week. Needless to say, this scholarship also alleviated much mental and physical stress.
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