Complete Penn State provides critical aid to students during pandemic

Eligible students at all campuses are invited to request support

The Complete Penn State program, part of the Student Success Center, supports students at all Penn State campuses in completing their degrees despite personal hardships or other obstacles. Credit: Penn State / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As the coronavirus pandemic places many Penn State students and their families under economic pressure, the Complete Penn State program is extending financial lifelines to scores of seniors. The program supports students at all Penn State campuses in completing their degrees despite personal hardships or other obstacles.

“All of us are feeling the economic impact of this pandemic, and this includes Penn State students,” said Denise Poole, director for Student Success Initiatives, who administers the Complete Penn State program. “Students have lost part-time jobs they depended on to pay rent, or they are experiencing the impact of a parent’s job loss. Now, more than ever, Complete Penn State is here to support students in overcoming hardships and completing their Penn State degrees.”

Complete Penn State provides resources for students who are within one or two semesters of completing their first associate's or bachelor's degree and who experience a situation that negatively impacts their ability to complete their degree. The program offers a variety of support services in addition to financial support, including re-enrollment support, aimed at helping students complete their degree requirements and achieve their academic goals.

Complete Penn State is available to students at all Penn State campuses, including the World Campus, and to domestic as well as international students.

Since the University began remote course delivery on March 16, Complete Penn State has approved more than $106,000 in financial support for students, and the program is quickly approaching $1 million in total funds approved during the 2019-20 academic year. Since July 1, 2019, Complete Penn State has fielded more than 800 requests for support, advocated for more than $950,000 in aid, and supported over 450 eligible students as they have worked to overcome potential barriers to graduation. 

The program has funds remaining for spring and summer, and eligible students in need of aid are invited to apply at Students typically receive up to a maximum of $3,000 in scholarship aid that is based on the program’s assessment of their need and the availability of remaining funds. To request support for the 2019-20 academic year, which includes all summer sessions, students are asked to submit their requests no later than June 8. The program will begin reviewing requests for the 2020-21 academic year in late June/early July.

In addition to Complete Penn State, Penn State students have turned to the Student Emergency Fund, available through the Student Care and Advocacy office in Student Affairs, for financial aid during the coronavirus pandemic. Thirty percent of all applications to the Emergency Fund have come from seniors, according to Anna Barone, director of Student Care and Advocacy. Seniors can receive aid from both sources, and Poole is working closely with Barone and her team to direct eligible students to Complete Penn State for additional support during the pandemic.

Complete Penn State is administered through the Student Success Center, which was launched in 2019 to assist Penn State students in their academic pursuits, allowing them to fully harness the power of financial support and academic engagement opportunities. The Student Success Center is committed to empowering students and their advocates across the University Park and Commonwealth campuses to help students fulfill their academic goals.

Poole joined Penn State in 2019 to lead the new Student Success Center. She most recently served as director of academic support services and compliance for New York University.

Students who wish to learn more about Complete Penn State, from eligibility criteria to FAQs, can do so at

About Achieve Penn State

Complete Penn State is part of Achieve Penn State, an initiative which supports hard-working students and their families by helping them plan for their future by eliminating obstacles so they can graduate with lower debt and in less time. Achieve Penn State programs support students and families through institutional scholarships, summer school and on-campus employment, financial literacy and campus transitions to help students to experience all that Penn State has to offer. 

To learn more about Achieve Penn State, contact


Last Updated May 23, 2020