Expand your experience beyond the classroom.

The Student Engagement Network is offering grants to those interested in expanding their undergraduate experience through engagement experiences. Awards are contingent upon the availability of funds and the number of applications received; however, there’s a maximum of allotment of $3,000 per applicant. Students are strongly encouraged to seek additional funding sources, including matching funds from their campus, college, department, and/or external sources. Efforts to obtain additional funding will be viewed positively by the review committee. The grant application and review process has been designed to create a fair and equal opportunity for students to receive funding. Any funding requests outside the established application and review process will not be considered.

Application and Award Timeline: Summer 2018

  • March 2 – Application Opens
  • March 16 – Application Deadline
  • March 30 – Award Decision Notification

*Note: There is no award period for spring 2018.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who is eligible to apply?
Students must be currently enrolled as undergraduate students at Penn State University. For example, students applying for summer funding must be enrolled in summer courses or registered for courses the following fall. Students must also be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the University.

The application is closed, but I want to prepare ahead of time. What questions will I need to answer?
Students who are interested in preparing their responses ahead of time can download a preview of the application here. A budget breakdown for your engagement experience is required and must be prepared using our template, which can be downloaded here.

When is the deadline for grant applications?
Grant application deadlines are listed on the grants page by semester (summer, fall, spring). The review committee will make award decisions and notify recipients approximately two weeks after the application has closed.

The deadline has passed. Will more funding be available?
Yes, additional funding will be offered in the summer, fall, and spring semesters (please note that the amount of available money may vary by semester). Once funding is available, a new deadline will be announced. Please check back for future opportunities.

When will I be notified about a decision?
After the application deadline has passed, the review committee will notify students with decisions within the following two weeks.

Can I apply for a grant ahead of schedule? (e.g. Can I apply for a summer grant even though it’s still fall?)
No. The application you’re submitting must correspond with the semester in which your engagement experience takes place.

Can I apply for multiple grants per semester?
No. You may only apply for one grant per semester; however, there’s no limit to the number of semesters that you can apply and be awarded for.

Can a group of students apply together?
If you’re part of a student group or program, you’re considered a cohort (please note that each student within a cohort must apply for a grant separately). Please provide the appropriate information as prompted by the application.

What types of things will grants fund?
Grant recipients may use grant money to cover the costs of living (i.e.housing, food, transportation), professional conference registration fees or travel, supplies and materials for events and presentations, and other costs related to the engagement experience. Please provide these details in your budget on the application.

What types of things are not funded?
Grant money is not to be used for tuition dollars, clothing, Greek life or student organization membership dues, student club fees or dues, independent research, travel, or experiences not affiliated with the University, utility bills, leisure expenses, personal products or other miscellaneous expenses that don’t directly pertain to the engagement experience.

Can I use the grant to pay my tuition?
No. The grant is not to be used for tuition dollars.

What types of engagement experiences ‘count?’
We encourage applicants interested in the below types of engagement to apply. While this list covers an extensive range, we encourage you to apply even if your experience falls outside of these categories or is a combination of one or more.

  • Undergraduate research
  • Professional experiences
  • Travel-related experiences
  • Community-based learning
  • Creative accomplishments
  • Courses with out-of-class component
  • Organizational experiences
  • Peer mentoring
  • Self-directed student engagement
  • Volunteerism

What are some examples for the above types of engagement experiences that ‘count?’

Type Examples
Undergraduate research Program theses, capstone projects, independent research
Professional experiences Internships, co-ops, clinical and field experiences, client-based projects
Travel-related experiences Study abroad, study away, embedded travel courses
Community-based learning Service learning, supervised field experiences, community development, tech transfer
Creative accomplishments Public performance, community and creative arts programs, design consultations
Courses with out-of-class component Courses that require interaction with an external entity (ex. industry, government, sponsor, community organization, audience)
Organizational experiences Active participation in a professional organization, leadership role in a student organization, membership on a community board
Peer mentoring Resident assistants, orientation leadership, learning assistants
Self-directed student engagement Activities that enable students to apply their learning in special circumstances (ex. student assists a local business over the summer to help improve its business practices)
Volunteerism Campus and/or community involvement opportunities, civic engagement, philanthropic service

What will be expected of me if I receive a grant?
Grant recipients will be asked to: (1) complete a pre- and post-assessment survey regarding student engagement; (2) write a reflective narrative; and (3) upload a minimum of three photos that capture the essence of the engagement experience.

If I’m awarded a grant, when will I receive the funding?
All grant monies will be disbursed to students via their student account and the Office of Student Aid. If you have an outstanding balance in your account, the grant monies will inevitably be applied to your balance. If you don’t have a balance, you will receive a refund of the full amount credited to your account via a check, or direct deposit, depending on your account settings.

How are grants applications reviewed?
A committee of faculty, staff, and students reviews applications using a rubric designed by the Student Engagement Network.

Already awarded a grant? Head over to the awardees page for more information.

A Gift with Potential

The Student Engagement is made possible by gifts from generous donors. Learn more about how to help Penn State students achieve their full potential by contacting Andrea Pagano-Reyes, Director of Development for University Programs, at 814-865-7698 or

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