A message from Penn families in this unprecedented time of need

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Dear President Gutmann, 

We are all in this pandemic together, and we as families of students attending this great institution appreciate the thoughtful, deliberate plan the University has put together and the tremendous amount of work that went behind opening for the Fall semester. 

Even in “normal” times, the University is well aware that for many families, it'll take every ounce of our financial means to send our child to Penn, based on the meticulous and stringent EFC calculations. Nonetheless, it is a sacrifice we are willing to make, given the high quality learning, the many interactions between exceptional faculty and students, the environment, the facilities, the services, the student activities, and the many other tangible and intangible benefits of living and studying at Penn. However, the current pandemic has completely disrupted the way of life and learning at Penn in ways we would have never imagined a short while ago. Despite all the best intentions, plans and efforts in place, we think we can all agree that our students will not receive many of these benefits we would expect from their Penn education – in the foreseeable future.

In addition, many of us are now facing financial difficulties due to unemployment, furloughs and pay-cuts, as the economy continues to struggle. Multiple elite colleges and universities have proactively taken the reduced education experience and the challenging economic situation into consideration, and firmly announced measures to ease the financial burden on families knowing that a.) the students are not receiving the full college experience due to measures being taken to address the pandemic; b.) many families are struggling financially. We expect you are well aware of these elite institutions and the financial measures they are providing to their entire undergraduate student population. 

As such we, the families of Penn, would like to respectfully request the University to consider similar actions, and to do what is right, honorable and supportive in your eyes, consistent with the university motto “Leges Sine Moribus Vanae”. We know it won’t be easy, much like it is not easy for us (and more so now) to afford an education at this prestigious institution. However, as every student who graduates from Penn becomes alumni for life, we hope you see that a one-time gesture in this unprecedented time of need will emanate a life-long gratitude from thousands of current students and will make Penn alumni everywhere proud. Historic moments like this invite an opportunity to bring our Penn community together, we ask that you take it.


The Penn Families

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