SEN Grant Program

Your next experience is not an answer. It is a question.

We believe that Penn State undergraduates should have the opportunity for out-of-classroom learning regardless of their financial means. In that spirit, we invite students to apply for an INDIVIDUAL SEN Grant up to $2,000 to fund an engagement experience. You design the experience, and we support you along the way. Undergraduate students are eligible to receive one $2000 grant per student career/degree.

Students, faculty, and staff are also invited to consider applying for a GROUP GRANT, which allows awards of up to $10,000. GROUP grants are designed to help fund student experiences  like research, alternative spring breaks, travel, etc., where the students will have very similar experiences. The GROUP leader or supervisor completes a singular application on behalf of 2 or more students.

Experiences take place over the course of one semester, in the fall, spring, or summer. Grants are awarded three times each year leading up to each term.

Where will your education take you?

Students having class in the field in Africa.

Drive personal growth using real projects, activities, and experiences

Maximize Your Learning 

Grant recipients not only receive funding, but they also participate in opportunities designed to maximize their learning:

  • “Student Engagement 101: “The Engagement Mindset” Canvas course
  • Weekly small group meetings with a faculty or staff Engagement Coach
  • Voluntary opportunities to present at student expositions in the fall and spring

Measure Your Personal and Professional Growth 

Students are encouraged to reflect on any engaged learning experience that they have. Click here to learn more about the competencies and skills (critical growth areas) that help students reach their potential and succeed after graduation.

Opportunities Abound

What kinds of experiences could a grant cover? The opportunities are endless. A grant may be applied toward any of the following experience types (or others you might envision).

2023-2024 SEN Grant Timeline


  • August 19 – Application Opens
  • September 8 – Application Closes
  • Week of September 16-20 – Award Decision Notifications
  • January 12 – All experiences should be complete for this grant cycle


  • November 20 – Application Opens
  • December 15 – Application Closes 5:00 pm EST
  • Week of January 13 – Award Decision Notifications
  • May 31 – All experiences should be complete for this grant cycle


  • February 28 – Application Opens
  • March 23 – Application Closes
  • Week of April 1 – Award Decision Notifications
  • August 15 – All experiences should be complete for this grant cycle


Penn State students have received more than $2.5 million in funding since the SEN Grant Program launched in 2017
Students in the field in remote location.
Success Story: Elise Schaffer, Study Away
Providing Access to Art in Natural Locations
Students in the field in remote location.

Elise Schaffer (Penn State Lehigh Valley) traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, to research public artwork in natural settings. The experience was rooted in understanding how people with disabilities could access the features of a destination before traveling there. Elise’s engagement experience culminated in a 360˚ virtual tour that outlines the accessibility challenges of the locations and makes recommendations for adaptations in each location.

Student moving mulch in field work day.
Success Story: Ashley Jankowski, Volunteerism
San Antonio Service Experience – Access to Healthy Living
Student moving mulch in field work day.

Participating in Alternative Spring Break allowed Ashley Jankowski (Penn State Behrend) to dedicate her spring break to service. She and 20 other students volunteered at organizations such as Ronald McDonald House, Special Reach, Headwater Sanctuary, San Antonio Food Bank, and Habitat for Humanity. Ashley’s engagement opportunity allowed her to immerse herself in a culturally diverse community and engage in direct service with individuals in need.

Public outreach signs in Guatemala.
Success Story, Lyndsay Stakem, Volunteerism
Global Health Initiative in Guatemala, Leads to Lifelong Impact
Public outreach signs in Guatemala.

A five-day medical clinic in a Guatemalan community made a lasting impact on Lyndsay Stakem (University Park). For her, it combined her love of helping people with her passion for health and medicine. Of particular importance was the opportunity for her and her team to educate children on the importance of dental and daily hygiene. She got to practice her Spanish and offer valuable care to individuals of very low socio-economic status.


Students have participated in more than 2,500 engagement experiences with the support of SEN Grants

SEN Grant Program FAQs