General Assembly maintains Penn State's funding levels for 2020-21 fiscal year

May 28, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Pennsylvania General Assembly has passed, and Gov. Tom Wolf has signed into law, a partial state budget that maintains Penn State’s current funding levels for the entire 2020-21 fiscal year. This includes level funding of $242.1 million for Penn State’s general support appropriation, $54.96 million for Penn State Agricultural Research and Extension, and $26.74 million for Pennsylvania College of Technology. The University’s appropriation is part of a larger commitment from lawmakers to prioritize and maintain all education funding — from early education through higher education — for the full fiscal year, even in the face of revenue uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the exception of several categories of spending, including all levels of education, which have been funded for the entire year, all other line items in the state’s operating budget have been level-funded for the first five months of the fiscal year that begins July 1, including programs that provide funding to Penn State Health. 

“I want to extend my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to our legislative leaders and the governor for maintaining Penn State’s funding and prioritizing education at all levels during these uncertain times,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “Given the significant financial impact of the pandemic on Penn State’s operations and the economy as a whole, the importance of our appropriation, especially for the thousands of Pennsylvania students and their families who directly benefit from state support, cannot be understated. The state’s commitment to maintaining our funding levels for the next 12 months provides a measure of stability, and together with our ongoing actions to reduce spending and identify cost savings across the institution, will help us to continue to meet our students’ needs, support our faculty and staff, and positively impact the lives of Pennsylvanians.”

Recognizing the sustained financial strain that the pandemic is causing across Pennsylvania and the nation, Penn State has taken steps to help ease the burden on students by adjusting tuition rates during the summer 2020 semester. In addition, Barron announced in April that the University intends to freeze tuition for all students University-wide for the 2020-21 academic year. While tuition schedules for the upcoming academic year will not be set until the Board of Trustees meets in July, if approved, the tuition freeze would mark the third straight year that Penn State has not raised tuition rates for Pennsylvania resident students.

Funding from the commonwealth is a critical factor that influences Penn State’s resident tuition rates and supplements the University’s continued work to address access and affordability. The University’s general support appropriation helps to defray the cost of in-state tuition for approximately 50,000 Pennsylvania resident undergraduates across all Penn State campuses, which serve some of the most economically challenged regions of the state. The general support appropriation also plays a vital role in Penn State’s efforts to fund innovation, spur economic growth, and create jobs within Pennsylvania.

State appropriations also support Penn State Agricultural Research and Extension operations that help the agriculture industry, communities and individuals to solve problems in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, and provide important funding for Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, a wholly owned subsidiary of Penn State with a focus on applied technology education, and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

With the University’s state appropriation set, Penn State’s proposed operating budget and tuition schedules for 2020-21 will be presented to the Board of Trustees for consideration at the body’s next meeting July 16-17.

Last Updated May 29, 2020