Pathway to Success: Summer Start and Excelerate

Pathway to Success: Summer Start (PaSSS) and Excelerate is a six-week program available to select first-year Behrend students. As a PaSSS and Excelerate participant, you can access tools and resources that increase the likelihood that you not only will earn a Penn State degree, but also will do so in four years or fewer, potentially saving you and your family thousands of dollars in tuition and fees.

PaSSS and Excelerate begins the summer prior to your first year at Penn State Behrend. If you successfully complete your first year at the college, you will be eligible to continue the program the following summer. 

Once you’ve taken the first step through PaSSS, you can enhance your experiences through the Excelerate portion of the program. A partnership of Erie Insurance and Penn State Behrend, Excelerate gives you first preference for special internship and research stipends later in your Behrend studies.

What will you get from PaSSS and Excelerate? 

  • Start college in a more relaxed summer setting. 
  • Become familiar with the campus, meet faculty and staff, and learn about campus resources before the start of the fall semester. 
  • Meet classmates earlier and make new friends. 
  • Work with peer mentors and tutors to increase your success in your first year of college. 
  • Receive personalized math instruction and English evaluation and instruction to increase college readiness. 
  • Receive special financial incentives: A scholarship of at least $3,000 the first summer (based on 6 credits of coursework) and the possibility of earning additional $6,000 in scholarship money in subsequent summers.  
  • Create academic and engagement action plans.  

Who is eligible for PaSSS and 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 
  • High school record or assessments indicate additional academic preparation needed in math or English

Estimated Costs and Scholarships

Type of Cost

Pennsylvania Residents

Non-Pennsylvania Residents

Tuition for 6 credits $3,846 $6,594
Fees $139 $139
Books (approximate) $200 $200
Scholarship -$3,000 -$3,000
Total cost to student $1,185 $3,933

Some students may be eligible for a Pell Grant of up to $1,712 and additional scholarship money or other financial aid such as grants and/or student loans. If residential program is chosen, housing will be available at an additional cost. Students will be eligible for a campus housing benefit of $2,000 to assist with food and housing costs.  

Need more information about financial aid eligibility and PaSSS and Excelerate? Contact the program coordinator.

How do I apply for PaSSS and Excelerate?

You can apply to be considered for participation in the program by filling out the online PaSSS application.

What are the program requirements?

If chosen for the summer 2024 PaSSS program, you will be required to: 

  • Accept your offer of admission by submitting Penn State’s $330 enrollment and housing fee no later than May 1, and give Penn State permission to change your start date from fall 2024 to summer 2024.  
  • File a 2023-24 FAFSA by May 1, so that you are eligible for summer financial aid.  (This is in addition to the 2024-25 FAFSA you filed for the academic year that starts in Fall 2024.) 
  • Complete your ALEKS math and English assessments by May 1.  
  • Schedule your virtual New Student Orientation (NSO) by May 1 for NSO on June 24. 
  • Attend Summer Start Day on Tuesday, June 25. 
  • Participate in two Summer Session II courses. Summer Session II begins Wednesday, June 26, and ends Friday, August 9. 
  • Participate fully in tutoring and mentoring activities. 
  • Attend summer workshops and activities.  
  • Complete an Academic Action Plan and Engagement Action Plan during your first summer, and keep plans updated during your first two years at Behrend.
  • Enroll in First-Year Seminar (BBH 148) in Fall 2024. 
  • Meet with an adviser and PaSSS and Excelerate program coordinator throughout your first year to discuss progress and credit loads and enroll in appropriate courses in Fall 2024 and Spring 2025 semesters. 

For more information

If you have questions about PaSSS and Excelerate or need more information before accepting your invitation to participate, contact Fatima Kelly, PaSSS and Excelerate program coordinator, at [email protected] or 814-898-6960