Excelerate is a partnership of Erie Insurance and Penn State Behrend that offers first-year students from the Pennsylvania counties of Erie, Crawford, Warren, and Venango the opportunity to participate in the Pathway to Success: Summer Start (PaSSS) program. Later in their Behrend studies, Excelerate students are given first preference for special internship and research stipends.
Access to higher education and the ability to pay for tuition are two of the biggest factors that determine whether a high school student will earn a college degree. This is the reason that Erie Insurance and Penn State Behrend created Excelerate.
Excelerate students receive a scholarship to participate in PaSSS, a six-week program that offers select first-year Behrend students tools and resources that increase the likelihood that they not only will earn a Penn State degree, but also will do so in four years or fewer, potentially saving their families thousands of dollars in tuition and fees.
Excelerate students benefit by:
- Participating in Pathway to Success: Summer Start (PaSSS).
- Starting college in a more relaxed summer setting.
- Becoming familiar with the campus, meeting faculty and staff, and learning about campus resources prior to the beginning of the fall semester.
- Meeting classmates earlier and making new groups of friends.
- Building résumé skills through work experience and serving as a peer mentor.
- Receiving personalized math instruction to increase college readiness.
- Receiving personalized English instruction for non-native speakers, if needed.
- Receiving special financial incentives: A scholarship of at least $2,000 the first summer (based on 6 credits of coursework) and the possibility of earning additional $4,000 in scholarship money in subsequent summers and additional $3,000 in engagement funds that can be used toward campus employment, undergraduate research stipends, community service stipends, and other creative projects.
- Receiving first preference for special internships and research stipends during the junior and senior years of study.
- Creating academic and engagement action plans.
Excelerate students' PaSSS experience begins the summer prior to the student’s first year at Penn State Behrend. Participants who successfully complete their first year at the college will be eligible to continue the PaSSS program the following summer. To be eligible for Excelerate, you must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Eligible for a federal Pell grant or a Pennsylvania PHEAA grant
- First-generation college student
- Member of an underrepresented group
- Additional math preparation needed, based on ALEKS math assessment score
- Non-native English speaker
Estimated Costs and Scholarships
Tuition for 6 credits: $3,678
Books (approximate): $200
Total cost to student: $2,065
Some Excelerate students may be eligible for a Pell Grant of up to $1,511 and additional scholarship money or other financial aid. Need more information about financial aid eligibility and Excelerate? Find contact information at the bottom of the page.
If you would like to live on campus, housing will be available at additional cost (estimated at $2,500).
If you'd like to apply for Excelerate:
You can apply to be considered for participation in Excelerate by filling out the online PaSSS application.
If chosen for the summer 2022 Excelerate program, you will be required to:
- Participate in Pathway to Success: Summer Start (PaSSS).
- Accept your offer of admission by submitting Penn State's $230 enrollment fee or contact us to see if you qualify for a fee waiver no later than Monday, May 2, and give Penn State permission to change your start date from Fall 2022 to Summer 2022.
- File a 2021-22 FAFSA by Friday, April 29, so that you are eligible for summer financial aid.
- Complete your ALEKS math assessment by Monday, May 2.
- Schedule your virtual New Student Orientation (NSO) by May 1 for NSO prior to the start of summer courses in June.
- Attend PaSSS orientation on Tuesday, June 28.
- Participate in two Summer Session II courses. Summer Session II begins Wednesday, June 29, and ends Friday, August 12.
- Participate fully in tutoring and mentoring activities, academic skills development workshops, Penn State technology workshops, and the ALEKS Math Academy.
- Complete an Academic Action Plan and Engagement Action Plan during your first summer, and keep plans updated during your first two years at Behrend.
If you have questions about Excelerate or need more information before accepting your invitation to participate, contact Fatima Kelly, PaSSS program coordinator, at [email protected] or 814-898-6960.