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The collaborative pursuit of success

Through the Achieve Penn State initiative, we are here to support you, regardless of circumstance, and provide programs and resources that enable you to complete your degree on time, with less debt, and equipped with the knowledge and skills you need to succeed.

Achieve PSU Shield Pattern

A commitment to student success, access, and affordability

As the rising cost of higher education presents a barrier to many students and families, Penn State understands that students and families may need help and is committed to creating more access to a high-quality Penn State education. Achieve Penn State, which encompasses a multitude of flexible programs and services available at Penn State undergraduate campuses, is a collaboration in which students, their parents or guardians, the community, and key legislators align to make student success a priority. Working together, these partners open a path to any student who wants to earn a Penn State degree, allowing them to start strong, maintain success, and graduate with minimal debt. At its core, the initiative represents the University’s commitment to student success, access, and affordability, by meeting students where they are and providing the resources needed to help cross the finish line.

  • The Complete Penn State program has awarded more than $1.5 million in scholarships to students who face unforeseen challenges in the final one or two semesters of their Penn State degrees.
  • Students who participate in Pathway to Success: Summer Start (PaSSS), which helps entering students make a successful transition to a Commonwealth campus, maintain an average GPA of 3.0.
  • In 2019, the Sokolov-Miller Family Financial and Life Skills Center delivered more than 200 classes to 5,000 students.
Eric Barron
“Together, with our students and families, we can pave a path to a world-class education for our brightest and most hard-working citizens.”

Dr. Eric J. Barron President, Penn State

Student graduation ceremony

Achieve Penn State programs

The programs within Achieve Penn State are designed to meet students where they are and remove barriers that undergraduate students may face along the path to a Penn State degree, so that they can succeed academically, graduate on time, and reduce their educational debt.



On the path to success

To demonstrate the impact of Achieve Penn State, we need to look no further than the talented, hard-working students who, with the support of Achieve Penn State programs, are earning their degrees and building the foundation for fulfilling lives.


Student graduation ceremony
Student Sara Maholland

First-generation student pursues passion for geography

Having benefitted from the STEP program, first-generation college student Sara Maholland is poised for a career in natural disaster management.

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Student Sara Maholland

Penn State senior persists toward graduation despite accident

With support from Complete Penn State, Penn State Harrisburg student Clinton Asalu rebounded from a devastating car accident to stay on track toward graduation.

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Student Sara Maholland

Student’s Penn State experience fuels personal growth

For Jonathan Adrien, the PaSSS and STEP programs have accelerated the monumental growth he’s achieved during his Penn State career.

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Student Sara Maholland

Financial literacy mentoring program provides ‘lifeline’ for Penn State students

Thanks to the Mentoring Program in the Sokolov-Miller Family Financial and Like Skills Center, Penn State students are learning from the real-world experience of alumni mentors.

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Student Sara Maholland

Complete Penn State provides critical aid to students during pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic places students and families under financial strain, Complete Penn State is extending lifelines to students in the final stretch of their Penn State degrees.

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Student Sara Maholland

PaSSS program provides virtual on-ramp to college during pandemic

In a typical year, the Pathway to Success: Summer Start (PaSSS) program helps undergraduates at Penn State’s Commonwealth Campuses acclimate to college life during the summer before their first semester. Of course, 2020 has been anything but typical.

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Student Sara Maholland

Recent graduate poised for career in secondary education

Experienced teachers know that behind every great lesson is a solid lesson plan. Aspiring educator and recent Penn State Harrisburg graduate Mackenzie Hill has proven her ability to put together a winning plan — not only for her lessons, but also for her life.

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For more news and information about the latest from Achieve Penn State, visit News.psu.edu.


Achieve PSU Shield Pattern

Programming and resources of Achieve Penn State are possible through a combination of commitment from the University, as well as support from donors to the Open Doors Scholarship Program.

Are you interested in supporting Achieve Penn State with a gift? A Penn State gift officer can help you connect your philanthropic interests with opportunities for support, including the Open Doors Scholarship Program.

We want to hear from you

Do you have a question about the Achieve Penn State initiative, or have you benefitted from an Achieve Penn State program and would like to share your story with the Penn State community? We want to hear from you. Please contact us using the form below, and we will respond to your message promptly.