Liberal Arts Enrichment Funds Application Process
An important goal of the College of the Liberal Arts is to involve undergraduates in appropriate enrichment activities. Accordingly, the College, as well as a variety of Academic Departments, has modest funds available to assist students participating in activities such as internships, education abroad, or undergraduate research. Liberal Arts majors seeking financial support for such enrichment activities are encouraged to apply to the Liberal Arts Enrichment Funds Application System.
Priority application deadlines are
- Fall: September 1
- Spring: December 1
- Summer: May 1
Applications submitted after these deadlines will be considered on a funds-available basis, so it is to your advantage to submit your application before the priority deadlines. Please note that applications will not be reviewed until the semester priority deadline has passed.
Before applying for funds, please make sure you are familiar with the eligibility and application requirements below.
- Students must be registered as full-time undergraduates in the College of the Liberal Arts (i.e., at least 12 credits per semester). Note: Full-time registration status may not apply to the summer semester.
- Students must have at least one declared major in the College of the Liberal Arts.
- Students with demonstrated financial need are given preference for most funding (although students who do not have demonstrated need are still welcome to apply). Demonstrated need means that according to federal guidelines, students are eligible to receive financial aid. This is determined by completing and submitting a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal and Student Aid) form by the appropriate deadline with the FAFSA office. There is no need to submit a copy of your FAFSA application with your enrichment application.
- Students earning academic credit for their experience are given first preference.
- Strongest consideration will be given to applications received before the start date of the enrichment experience.
- For education abroad, students must be participating in a Penn State sponsored program.
- A faculty member’s endorsement is only necessary for students requesting research funds. Requests must be accompanied by a brief description submitted by the appropriate faculty member describing the importance of the project to the student’s education.
- Review the correctness and completeness of the information the system retrieves about you from Penn State databases.
- Complete the online form which will ask you to fill out some basic information about you and your enrichment experience.
- Upload the following documentation:
- Statement: Describe in 300 to 500 words how the enrichment activity will support your academic or career goals and any financial circumstances of which we should be made aware.
- List of Expenses: Provide an itemized list of expenses, being as specific as possible (airfare, room and board, transportation expenses, etc.). Be sure to include the total amount you are requesting in this document. Please also indicate here if you have applied for or received any other funding to support your enrichment experience (include the source and amount if known). Please see the sample itemized budgets below for examples on appropriate funding requests.
Itemized Budgets for Internships, Study Abroad, and Research
- Acceptance Letter: Provide a copy of your acceptance letter into the program if you are participating in an internship or study abroad program, or a faculty letter of endorsement if you are undertaking a research project.
Incomplete applications and those without the statement, list of expenses, and acceptance letter will not be considered. If any of this information is missing, you can return to this system as many times as you need to complete it. Any information which is not editable by you in this system must be updated in eLion. Any information which is editable by you only updates in this application system, not in other PSU databases. Please also note that your session will time out after 60 minutes, so you need to save your work before then or you will need to re-enter it.
Your application will be reviewed as soon as possible after the semester priority deadline. In most cases, you should hear from us within two to three weeks by email at your Penn State address with a decision regarding your application. Your academic major department will also be given access to your enrichment application for review. If your department is able to make an additional contribution, you will hear from them separately.
When will my enrichment award be disbursed?
Your enrichment award will be deposited into your student bursar’s account the semester during which you participate in the experiential learning experience. If you have holds on your account or any outstanding registration issues, or if your bill has not been paid, this will prevent your award from disbursing. Contact Penn State’s Office of the Bursar to check on any registration issues you may have.
Summer semester enrichment award recipients should be aware that their course schedule may impact the timing of the disbursement of their award as follows:
- If you are not registered for credit during the summer, your award will be disbursed during the first summer session.
- If you are registered for academic credit during the summer, your award will be disbursed on the date that your last class begins or by June 30 (unless your award is posted after this date).
- If you are registering part-time during the summer, please be sure to indicate that you plan to enroll for fewer than 12 credits when you schedule your courses on eLion.
These rules apply even if the academic credit for which you are registered is unrelated to your enrichment experience. Make sure to reference Penn State’s Academic Calendar for accurate dates of the semester sessions. Please note also that the submission of a thank you letter may impact the timing of your award.
How will I receive my enrichment award?
Your enrichment award will be disbursed according to your Bursar Account settings, so make sure your account is set up properly in advance. When you log in to eLion, click on “Refund Information” on the left hand column. There you will be able to choose whether you would like to enroll in “Rapid Refund” or if you would prefer to have your refund mailed to your permanent residence address. Most students choose to enroll in Penn State’s Rapid Refund Program so that the funds are directly deposited into their bank accounts. Any questions you have about your Bursar Account or the disbursement of your award should be directed to the Penn State’s Office of the Bursar. Please note that any disbursements into your bursar account will first be applied to any outstanding balance on your account. You will receive a refund for any remaining credit according to the refund option that you selected on eLion.
Do I have to be registered for academic credit to receive enrichment funding?
No, Liberal Arts majors do not have to be registered for academic credit to receive enrichment funding. For instance, a student taking a leave of absence for the spring semester to participate in a full-time internship or co-op program may request enrichment funding. Additionally, students participating in a significant undergraduate research project over the summer may apply for funding.
However, applicants must still be considered undergraduate students at Penn State University in the College of the Liberal Arts. Liberal Arts majors who have graduated prior to their enrichment activity may not apply for enrichment funds. Depending on the nature of your enrichment experience, the Liberal Arts Enrichment Committee may not approve your application for funding. Please note that applications for students who are receiving academic credit for their enrichment experience are given priority.
How much funding should I request?
The amount of funding you request depends on the nature of your enrichment experience. In most cases, the College of the Liberal Arts does not have the funding available to support the entire cost of students’ enrichment experiences. For instance, students participating in semester long education abroad programs should not request the total budget included in the budget sheets provided by Global Programs (total budgets on these sheets range from $15,000 - $30,000). Instead, think critically about the funds you will need to make this experience more affordable for you. You might focus instead on the cost of airfare or textbooks. A reasonable amount to request in your application can range from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. Please see the sample itemized budgets below for examples on appropriate funding requests.
Itemized Budgets for Internships, Study Abroad, and Research
How much funding will I receive?
You will be notified of your award amount once your application has been reviewed and approved by the Liberal Arts Enrichment Committee. Unfortunately, we cannot inform you of your specific award amount until your application has been formally processed and approved. A variety of factors are considered when reviewing applications, including: the cost of the program, the student’s demonstrated financial need, the student’s cumulative GPA, the cost of academic credit, as well as the quality of the enrichment application. Awards are also determined by the funds available at the time of receipt as well as the specific criteria of our funding sources.
How can I confirm that my application was received by the Career Enrichment Network?
Once you have completed your enrichment application in our on-line system, a confirmation email will be sent to your Penn State email account. The email will indicate that your application has been submitted and will display the status (complete or incomplete). Please also check your junk folder in the event the email was quarantined by your email system. If you did not receive this confirmation email, your application was likely not received. Additionally, if you log into the on-line application system, you should be able to see a list of your open applications which are organized by the activity type and semester. If you do not see this information on the home-page, your application was not received. If you are still not sure if your application has been received, contact the Career Enrichment Network at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814-865-1070 to check on your application status.
Tip: Once you log in to the on-line application system, your session will time out after 60 minutes. If you have had your session open while you have been preparing your application, your session will likely time out before you submit your materials and will not be received by our office. It is best to prepare your application materials first, then log in and submit the required documents in the on-line application system.
When will I hear back about my application?
Applications will not be reviewed until the semester priority deadline has passed. You should hear from us within two to three weeks after the priority deadline by email at your Penn State address with a decision regarding your application. Enrichment applications must be reviewed and undergo a variety of processes and approvals before students can be notified of their awards. Consequently, it may occasionally take us a bit longer to get back to you about your application. Feel free to call or email our office if you would like to check on the status of your application
Your academic major department will also be given access to your enrichment application for review. If your department is able to make an additional contribution, you will hear from them separately.
Can I apply for funding after the priority deadline has passed?
Yes, students can submit enrichment applications after the semester priority deadline has passed – within reason. All applications must be received in the semester during which the enrichment activity is occurring. For instance, you cannot apply for funding for a fall study abroad program in the subsequent spring semester.
Applications will be considered after these deadlines on a funds-available basis, so it is to your advantage to submit your application before the priority deadlines if at all possible. Please do not submit an application for an experience that has not yet been confirmed (i.e., you applied to an internship but don’t know yet whether or not you will get it.)
What information should I include in my thank you letter?
Most College of the Liberal Arts enrichment awards are made possible by generous donations from liberal arts alumni and friends. Undergraduate recipients of these enrichment awards will be asked to write a thank you letter to the donor(s) responsible for their award. Donors enjoy hearing about your career plans and extra-curricular activities, as well as about how the award will help you participate in your enrichment experience (i.e. internship, study abroad, or research program). Please make sure to read your award notification email from the College carefully so that you include the appropriate information and salutation. Letters should fit on one page, be single-spaced and include the student's contact information. Do not date your letter and make sure to include information about your enrichment experience. Liberal Arts majors can also refer to the Thank You Letter Guidelines for suggestions about what to include in your thank you letter and how to format it.
What are my enrichment assignment options?
We ask that all Liberal Arts majors who have received enrichment funding from the College choose to complete at least one of the following enrichment assignments:
*Submit a blog post discussing your enrichment experience. The blog post can be completed during or after your enrichment experience;
*Send us a few photos from your enrichment experience;
*Fill out the Career Enrichment Network student profile questionnaire.
Directions regarding your enrichment assignment should be found in the notification you receive from the Liberal Arts Career Enrichment Network. Please contact our office if you have any questions.