University Park, PA
Tuition (in-state)
$28,746 ($16,444)
Admission Difficulty
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4 College Senior

Diversity: Overall I would say Penn State is a college of liberal views. The students accept people from all backgrounds and affiliations. Moreover, we have one of the best LGBTA support networks of schools in the United States.

3 College Junior

Diversity: There is a great deal of diversity, however, the student population disperses itself into many different "cliques". People of similar ethnicity tend to group together and the same could be said for sexual orientation.

5 College Sophomore

Diversity: There is so much diversity on campus. You'll meet and see all different kinds of people just walking around in one day.

4 College Sophomore

Diversity: there is great diversity on campus

3 College Sophomore

Diversity: Although there is some diversity, the campus is still mostly white and tends to follow very American customs.


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 595th
    Most Liberal Schools
  • 795th
    Most Conservative Schools
  • 1071st
    Most Open-Minded Schools

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

James Bunting
Whitehall, PA
View all previous student authors

There is no hiding the fact that white, middle-class students make up a large portion of the student body at Penn State. A large number of students come from suburban Pittsburgh or Philadelphia. Many classes, especially in the sociology department, are aimed at opening the dialogue between races. These classes have been very instrumental in creating an open and peaceful atmosphere on campus. Racially-motivated crime at Penn State has not been an issue for years.

It’s important to keep in mind that State College is surrounded by rural areas with an even less diverse population. The climate is by no means adverse to minorities, but it may not be as accommodating as larger cities and more diverse college towns. The political leaning of central Pennsylvania is generally conservative. While different cultural and personal backgrounds are accepted around campus, this may not be the case when you’re away from the University’s grounds. More liberal residents agree that the best way of dealing with the close-mindedness of the area is through education and tolerance. Recent statistics have indicated that minority populations are increasing at Penn State, but they have a long way to go before the campus could be considered a modern day “melting pot.”

Facts & Statistics

African American
Native American
Historically Black College/University?
Tribal College?
Out-of-State Students
Common States of Residence
  • Foreign countries
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Virginia
Student Age Breakdown
Under 18: 1%
18-19: 31%
20-21: 43%
22-24: 15%
25+: 10%
Female Faculty
Male Faculty
Faculty Diversity
African American: 3%
Asian American: 8%
Hispanic: 2%
International: 8%
Native American: 0%
White: 78%
Unknown: 0%
Gay Pride
Homosexuality can be a sensitive issue at any campus. Through such organizations as Allies and the USG Department of LGBTA Affairs, the gay community actively participates and often spearheads debates and events promoting acceptance, understanding, and safe sex. The Valentine's Day KissOut on the Old Main steps generates a lot of attention each year.
Political Activity
Campus has a more liberal leaning, but that doesn’t mean other groups don’t voice their opinions as well. When a social issue becomes particularly heated, there are often rallies and protestors representing all sides. The steps of Old Main and the end of the mall on College Avenue are the most popular places to find student activists.
Most Common Religions
The Pasquerilla Spiritual Center is the largest multi-faith structure of its kind in the country. There are 42 student-run religious organizations on campus. Christianity is the most popular religion, but there are many opportunities for students of a different faith to become involved.
Minority Clubs on Campus
Penn State has about 50 minority clubs and student organizations run by and directed to students of many different cultures and nationalities. These clubs sponsor different events across campus and sometimes become highly visible in local media; a good example is the Black Caucus, which frequently makes news as it strives for racial equality on campus.

Student Polls

Have you changed your political affiliation since you started college?    Based on 8 responses

  • 62% No
  • 0% Yes, Democrat to Republican
  • 12% Yes, Democrat to Independent/Other Party
  • 0% Yes, Republican to Democrat
  • 12% Yes, Republican to Independent/Other Party
  • 12% Yes, Independent/Other Party to Democrat
  • 0% Yes, Independent/Other Party to Republican

How would you best describe your personal political beliefs?    Based on 221 responses

  • 3% Libertarian
  • 14% Not sure
  • 2% Very conservative
  • 17% Conservative
  • 33% Moderate
  • 26% Liberal
  • 4% Progressive/very liberal

How would you best describe the political beliefs of campus as a whole?    Based on 221 responses

  • 1% Libertarian
  • 1% Very conservative
  • 7% Conservative
  • 32% Moderate
  • 36% Not sure
  • 19% Liberal
  • 4% Progressive/very liberal

How diverse is the student body in the following areas?    Based on 230 responses

Totally homogenous
Extremely diverse
  • Economic status
  • Ethnic heritage
  • National origin (international students)
  • Political affiliation
  • Religious background
  • Sexual orientation

How diverse is your personal circle of friends in the following areas?    Based on 228 responses

Totally homogenous
Extremely diverse
  • Economic status
  • Ethnic heritage
  • National origin (international students)
  • Political affiliation
  • Religious background
  • Sexual orientation

Have you changed your political views since starting college?    Based on 9 responses

  • 33% No
  • 11% Yes, I became a lot more liberal.
  • 33% Yes, I became a little more liberal.
  • 0% Yes, I became a lot more conservative.
  • 22% Yes, I became a little more conservative.

What political party do you associate yourself with?    Based on 8 responses

  • 25% Republican
  • 38% Democratic
  • 25% Independent
  • 0% Other party not mentioned
  • 12% I don't care about politics

Have your religious views changed since you started college?    Based on 8 responses

  • 88% No, my religious views have stayed the same.
  • 12% Yes. I've become more religious, but I'm still affiliated with the same religion.
  • 0% Yes. I've become more religious and have changed my religious affiliation.
  • 0% Yes. I've become less religious, but I'm still affiliated with the same religion.
  • 0% Yes. I've become less religious and have changed my religious affiliation.

How accepted is the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community on campus?    Based on 9 responses

  • 33% Very accepted. LGBT students are treated no differently than non-LGBT students.
  • 56% Accepted. LGBT students are treated fairly, but there are still some people who aren't accepting of them.
  • 11% Somewhat accepted. LGBT students aren't necessarily out and proud on campus, for fear of intolerance.
  • 0% Not accepted. LGBT students generally stay quiet.

How important is religion in your life?    Based on 8 responses

  • 0% Very important. I regularly attend religious services and also participate in related clubs/organizations.
  • 38% Important. I regularly attend religious services.
  • 12% Somewhat important. I sometimes attend religious services.
  • 50% Not important. I don't affiliate with any religion.

How accepting is the campus community as a whole toward someone who falls into the minority (ethnic, sexual, or religious)?    Based on 221 responses

  • 2% It's hard to be a minority here.
  • 4% The campus is split on its acceptance-not all minority groups are as accepted as others.
  • 42% Most students are accepting, except for a few rare cases of intolerance.
  • 52% Very accepting.



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