General Assembly approves Penn State's 2017-18 appropriation

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Penn State’s 2017-18 non-preferred appropriations bill on Oct. 25, after a delay of more than three months. As proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf in February, the bill includes level funding of $230.4 million for Penn State’s general support appropriation. The bill also includes increases of $2 million for Pennsylvania College of Technology and $500,000 for Penn State Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension, for a total appropriation of $318.2 million.

“In light of the state’s current fiscal climate, we appreciate the support provided to Penn State and higher education by both the Legislature and the governor,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “Penn State’s general support appropriation directly impacts thousands of Pennsylvania families each year, as it is used to keep tuition lower for Pennsylvania students. Ensuring that a high-quality education remains affordable for Pennsylvania’s working families is one of the University’s top priorities, and state support plays a critical role in assuring that a Penn State education remains accessible to the Commonwealth’s best and brightest students.”

The passage of the budget means there will not be a need for a mid-year tuition surcharge, an action that had previously been under consideration during the impasse.

Not only does Penn State’s appropriation help offset the cost of tuition for resident students, but state funding also supports Agricultural Research and Extension operations that have a significant impact on the Commonwealth’s agriculture industry and economy, and provides essential funding for Penn College and for Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center — all critical to Penn State’s land-grant mission that benefits the citizens of Pennsylvania.

“We are deeply appreciative of the nearly 10,000 Penn State supporters who took the time to contact their legislators in support of the University,” Barron said. “Their support was crucial in communicating the value and importance of state funding to our elected leaders in Harrisburg.”

In addition to $230.4 million for Penn State’s general support appropriation, the General Assembly also approved:

  • A $2 million increase for Penn College — a wholly owned subsidiary of Penn State — bringing its support from the state to $22 million.
  • A $500,000 increase for Penn State Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension, for a total of $52.3 million. Because these activities are not supplemented with tuition, appropriations increases are necessary to keep pace with the rising cost of providing critical research and support services to the agriculture industry in all 67 Pennsylvania counties.
  • Level funding of $13.4 million for Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

The Penn State Board of Trustees in July approved the University’s 2017-18 operating budget, which included a modest aggregate tuition increase of 2.45 percent for Pennsylvania resident students. This year’s resident tuition increase was among the lowest at the University in 50 years and included no tuition increase for Pennsylvania students at eight Penn State Commonwealth Campuses for the third consecutive year. This follows action in 2015 to freeze base tuition for all resident undergraduates and 2016’s 1.76 percent aggregate resident tuition increase.

In addition to keeping resident tuition increases as low as possible, Penn State has enacted a variety of programs under the Plan4 Penn State initiative to help control the cost of a degree. These efforts have focused on increasing student retention and graduation, decreasing the total cost of a degree by ensuring timely graduation, decreasing the rate of student borrowing, and decreasing the rate of attrition due to financial challenges.

In an effort to monitor and control costs over the past several decades, Penn State has enacted nearly $404 million in cuts to recurring costs since 1992, including $21 million in cuts in the 2017-18 operating budget alone. These cost-cutting measures have helped defray costs to students, while ensuring the continued quality of Penn State’s academic programs.

Last Updated October 26, 2017