Governor proposes $21 million cut in Penn State funding

Penn State faces a $21 million cut in state funding with next year's proposed state budget announced in Harrisburg Feb. 4.

"The University understands the extraordinary circumstances faced by the Commonwealth and is prepared to do its part," said President Graham Spanier.

"The University will manage by freezing employee salaries next year and by implementing internal budget reductions,” Spanier said. "We also will do everything possible to hold tuition increases to the same level we announced last fall as our initial plan for 2009-10."

The $318 million proposed direct Penn State appropriation is a $20.3 million cut from the original 2008-09 appropriation of $338.4 million.  In addition, medical assistance funds provided to the Hershey Medical Center is anticipated to be reduced by approximately $900,000. This overall proposed Penn State funding level is less than the original University appropriation in 2001.

As part of his budget package, Gov. Rendell has proposed a tuition relief program for families earning up to $100,000 a year who have students attending any of Pennsylvania's 14 community colleges or the 14 public universities in the State System of Higher Education.

"The governor’s recently proposed financial assistance plan for Pennsylvania students from families with income below $100,000 is laudable,” Spanier said, "but it is imperative that it include Penn State students, who for some reason were omitted.

"State funding to help students afford the cost of public higher education in the Commonwealth should be based on the needs of all students attending public universities," Spanier said.  "The plan, as proposed, excludes otherwise qualified students who attend the state-related universities, such as Penn State."

There are 30,931 Pennsylvania residents attending Penn State this year who come from families who would qualify for this program — the largest number of residents with financial need at any university in the state.

"There are a number of majors in engineering, agriculture, science and business fields that are uniquely offered at state-related institutions. Students graduating in these fields are critical to the future of the state. We think those students should qualify for financial assistance.

"A decade of state funding cuts for Penn State is having an impact on the resources of our students and their families," Spanier said. "This program could make a big difference in their lives."

During the next several months, University officials will continue to discuss funding needs for the institution and its students and families with members of the Legislature. A final state budget will be due on July 1, 2009. Several days later, Penn State's Board of Trustees will meet to set tuition levels for the next school year.

   
 

Contacts: 
Last Updated November 18, 2010