Provost award increases to $1,500 for students accepted into STEP

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Provost Nicholas Jones has approved a 50 percent increase in the amount of scholarship dollars for rising juniors from the Commonwealth Campuses who are part of the 2016 Student Transitional Experiences Program (STEP). These students will now receive a $1,500 STEP Scholarship Award, up from the $1,000 awarded in previous years.

The STEP program is designed to smooth the transition for students coming to University Park from Penn State’s Commonwealth Campuses and is open to students entering the College of Engineering, College of Health and Human Development, and the Smeal College of Business.

“This increase in the scholarship amount could make a significant difference in whether a student from a Commonwealth Campus is able to continue at Penn State,” said Jones. “It could mean the difference between remaining on track to graduate in a timely manner or having to slow down academic progress to work or find more funds. Our focus is on helping these students complete their degree in four years and, ultimately, in their overall success.”

Students in the STEP program take two summer courses at the start of their junior year, one of which must be in the student’s major and another that will enhance progress toward graduation, possibly accelerating their time toward graduation. They also learn about mentoring, employment and internship opportunities, career preparation and participate in campus activities.

Said junior Sydnie Weeks of the STEP program, “I’m very excited to do this. My major is business administration with a focus in management, and being able to take two classes in the summer means that I will only need to take 15 credits in the fall instead of 19 — this will definitely help with my transition from the Berks campus to University Park.”

The program, established in 2009, supports President Barron’s key initiative to promote access and affordability, and is expected to serve approximately 90 students this summer.

The University is exploring the possibility of adding more colleges to the program. For information about how to apply for the STEP program, visit