The initiative is expensive, and some colleges, including Dartmouth, Williams, Claremont McKenna - and most recently Haverford - have begun or plan to begin reintroducing loans for some students.
At Haverford, beginning with the Class of 2019, students from families with incomes above $60,000 a year will see aid packages with loans ranging from $6,000 to a maximum of $12,000 over four years, college officials said. Current students are not affected, nor are students who applied for admission for fall 2014.
Penn would have maintained its all-grants policy even without the new drive, a spokesman said.
"This new Penn Compact 2020 Presidential Initiative will allow us to expand the impact of our all-grant, no-loan program, which has proven to be hugely successful in opening Penn's doors to thousands of talented, hardworking students who could otherwise not afford a Penn education," Penn president Amy Gutmann said in a statement.
Penn noted that its policy has decreased by 10 percent the average cost of a Penn education to undergraduates in need. About 47 percent of Penn students receive aid. The average grant for 2014-15 is expected to be about $41,700.
The university announced Thursday that it was increasing its tuition, fees, and room-and-board costs 3.9 percent, to a total of more than $61,000.