Cost of Education
While each student's actual costs will vary, we estimate that your expenses for the first year of the Master of International Affairs program will be as follows*:
|PA residents yearly tuition||$22,464|
|Non-PA residents yearly tuition||$38,198|
|Fees (tech and student fee)||$530|
|Books and supplies||$1,840|
|Food & personal expenses||$5,464|
|Other miscellaneous expenses||$5,800|
|Total Estimated Costs|
*These are estimated expenses for Academic Year 2021-2022. Tuition and fees will not be finalized until July 2021 after Board of Trustees approval. Students should expect an increase to tuition each year.
While an allotment for health insurance is not included above, we can adjust this estimated budget for financial aid purposes for any student who purchases insurance. Penn State offers a comprehensive plan, which costs approximately $3,400 per year. For more information about this option, please visit the Penn State Student Health Services website.
Sources of Financial Aid
The Penn State financial aid staff is available to make the process of financing your education as smooth as possible. A variety of financial aid programs are available to help you finance your SIA education. For more information about financial aid for graduate students, visit the Penn State Office of Student Aid website.
You will automatically be considered for SIA merit-based scholarships, based on information collected from your admission application, as long as you applied by February 15. This evaluation is automatic and does not require any additional forms. These scholarships are offered to top applicants who demonstrate academic excellence during their undergraduate years and on their standardized tests for graduate school. Involvement outside of the classroom and relevant work or other experiences are also taken into consideration. These scholarships may be renewable if you maintain the required criteria for eligibility. If you are awarded a merit scholarship, you will be notified in your official admission letter.
Unfortunately, we cannot award merit- based scholarships to every applicant. You should expect to use other scholarship and loan opportunities to help ease the burden of your education expenses.
A variety of student loan sources are available to our students. The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan (also known as the Stafford Loan) is the financial resource most used by our students. Through this federally guaranteed loan program, students may borrow up to $20,500 per year. The student is responsible for the interest that accrues on that portion of the loan during times of enrollment, but no payments are required until after a student stops attending school at least half-time. For the 2020-21 academic year, the Stafford Loan has a variable fixed interest rate set at 4.3% with an origination fee of 1.057% deducted at dispersement. The rate for 2021-22 will be set in June.
Many students need more loan money than is available to them through the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. These students turn to the Federal Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate Students (also known as Grad PLUS) or private educational loans. Applications for these loans require a credit check, so you will need a satisfactory credit history in order to borrow these loans. For the 2020-21 academic year, the Grad PLUS Loan has a variable fixed interest rate set at 5.3% with an origination fee of 4.228% deducted at dispersement. The rate for 2021-22 will become available in June. Interest rates and other fees on private loans vary.
You can learn more about all of these loans at studentaid.psu.edu/types-of-aid/loans/.
Applying for Financial Aid
As mentioned above, merit-based scholarships awarded by SIA do not require a separate application. If you wish to apply for other financial aid for the upcoming academic year, you should complete the following steps:
- If you wish to be considered for student loans, you must complete the 2021-22 FAFSA. You can find this form online at studentaid.gov. You should include school code 003329 (the code for all Penn State locations). You do not need to include parent information. You are encouraged to complete this no later than March 1, 2021.
- In the spring (or a couple of weeks after you file your FAFSA—whichever is later), you will receive a financial aid award email directing you to view your financial aid eligibility on LionPath (Penn State’s student portal).
- In the summer you should begin the process of completing loan promissory notes and entrance counseling at studentaid.gov.
Maintaining Good Financial Health
The best way to assure that your financial resources last throughout the academic year is to establish a personal budget for yourself and to stick to it. You will find a helpful tools at financialliteracy.psu.edu/.
Some students find it challenging to adjust to a student budget. Following are some common problems that can cause a student to experience financial difficulty:
- Maintaining a lifestyle that is beyond the student budget guidelines (for example, paying more than the budgeted amount for rent or other amenities);
- Paying more than the budgeted estimates for food or recreation;
- Maintaining an automobile (the cost of purchasing a car is not allowed to be factored into the student budget);
- Making payments on credit card debt with high interest rates (you should try to pay off your prior consumer debts before starting graduate school); or
- Damaging one’s credit history by missing payments or making late payments on bills (this will often render a student unable to borrow PLUS Loans or private educational loans).
It can be a challenge to maintain a good credit history while in school. Your resources may not seem to keep pace with your bills. But it is important to budget and manage your money wisely. If you keep yourself in a state of good financial health, you will have the option to turn to PLUS Loans or Private Educational Loans as a resource if you should need them. If you allow your credit history to deteriorate, these loans will be hard to acquire, which could leave you facing even greater financial difficulty.
It is a good idea to assess your credit history before you start applying for student loans. You can request a free copy of your credit report once each year from each of the three major credit bureaus at annualcreditreport.com. This can help you to determine whether you are creditworthy and able to obtain the financing necessary for your legal education.
External Scholarships and Fellowships Database
The School of International Affairs maintains the Advanced Fellowship Database Search, a helpful resource on external funding opportunities that includes information on scholarships and fellowships available to applicants based on demographic information, admission status, and field of study. Although not an exhaustive list of available external scholarships, we encourage you to utilize this valuable resource.
For further assistance, please feel free to contact Penn State's Office of Student Aid online or by phone at (814) 865-6301.