Penn State Board plans to lower tuition increase

Hershey, Pa. — Penn State's Board of Trustees discussed plans Friday (March 20) to moderate projected tuition increases next year.
   
John P. Surma, chair of the Board's Subcommittee on Finance, reported an effort will be made to moderate earlier projected 2009-10 tuition increases.
   
The discussion comes in response to concerns about how the current economic situation has affected students and their families.
   
Much has changed in the economic condition of the Commonwealth since last September, when the Board of Trustees approved the University's appropriation request for 2009-10. That earlier proposal included a projected tuition increase of 4.9 percent for students at the Commonwealth Campuses, and 5.5 percent at the University Park campus for 2009-10.
   
A reduction of at least one percent will be considered, depending on the University's appropriation and other economic twists and turns that occur between now and when tuition is set at the July Board meeting.
   
"Given the difficult circumstances many of our students and their families are facing, having a more moderate increase is an appropriate goal for Penn State," said Penn State President Graham B. Spanier in his remarks to the board.

"If we could, we would propose no tuition increase whatsoever. But that would create an additional shortfall that could seriously disrupt the quality of education at the University," added Spanier. "We wish that tuition increases could be smaller, our faculty and staff could get raises, and our internal cuts were less severe, but we must be diligent in preserving the long-term fiscal stability of the University."

"Faculty and staff salaries will be frozen, and there will be cuts of about $20 million in University E&G budgets," Spanier said. Dozens of faculty and staff vacancies have gone unfilled as a way to cut costs.

Two appropriation rescissions from the state have reduced the operating budget by $21.2 million in the current fiscal year. The governor's original proposal for 2009-10 to cut 6 percent from the University's base budget has been amended due to the passage of the federal stimulus package.

The exact amount of a tuition increase will not be known until this summer when the state budget is passed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly and signed by the governor.

Penn State's appropriation this current year is slightly less than it received in 2000.

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Last Updated March 25, 2009