Jewish students eat latkes at Penn State Hillel.

Pennsylvania State University

#T-42, overall score 61.5/100

Fun Fact:

Founded in 1865, Berkey Creamery is one of the oldest and largest campus ice creameries in the United States. They have a strict no-mixing-flavors policy — the only person they have allowed to break the rule was Bill Clinton.

Why should Jewish students attend Penn State? Penn State University’s Jewish community is dedicated to creating a pluralistic, welcoming, and inclusive environment for Jewish college students, where they are encouraged to grow intellectually, spiritually, and socially. At Penn State Hillel, we aim to enrich the lives of Jewish students on campus so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. Penn State Hillel helps students find a balance between being distinctively Jewish and universally human by encouraging them to pursue tzedek (social justice), tikkun olam (repairing the world), and Jewish learning, and to support Israel and global Jewish peoplehood. Penn State Hillel is committed to excellence, innovation, accountability, and results. — Hannah Giterman, director of community engagement, Penn State Hillel

ACADEMICS Score: 10/30

  • Score: 10/30
  • Acceptance rate: 56%
  • Student/faculty ratio: 16:1
  • Jewish Studies major: Yes
  • Israel Studies major: No


  • In-state tuition: $17,900
  • Out-of-state tuition: $32,382
  • Room & board costs: $11,860
  • Average annual scholarship/grant package: $9,608


  • Location: University Park, Pa.
  • Region: Mid-Atlantic
  • Public/Private: Public
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 40,742
  • Jewish undergraduate enrollment: 4,000
  • Jewish population share: 10%
  • Student origin: 67% in-state / 33% out-of-state
  • NCAA Division: I
  • NCAA team: Nittany Lions
  • Ultimate Frisbee teams: Spank, Crisis

ISRAEL Score: 15.67/20

JEWISH LIFE Score: 29.17/40

  • Score: 29.17/40
  • Hillel: Penn State Hillel
  • Chabad: Chabad of Penn State
  • OU-JLIC: No
  • Meor: No
  • Jewish fraternities: AEPi, ΣAM, ZBT
  • Jewish sororities: SDT
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in 2016: 0
  • Can you get kosher food on the school meal plan? Yes
  • Active Hillel clubs: 11
  • Hillel Friday night services: 2
  • Average Shabbat attendance – Hillel: 150
  • Synagogues within 10 miles: 1 (1 Reform)
  • Eruv: No
  • Most famous Jewish alumnus: Julius J. Epstein
  • Most unique/noteworthy Hillel club: Our newest student group, Rebuild-U, founded in 2016, is Penn State’s first hands-on Jewish service group with a mission to develop personal connections through hands-on service by reaching out to those in need and actively engaging the community locally and around the world.
  • Where do Jewish students come from? Our students come from all of the country, and the world, with larger populations coming from the East Coast and South Florida.
  • Kosher food details: Any student is able to participate in a student meal plan that provides access to all Penn State dining services including Pure, the kosher and allergy-friendly dining service. Students are also able to purchase kosher foods at off-campus grocery stores.
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