Committee approves 2021-22 state appropriation request

September 17, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning today (Sept. 17) recommended that the University submit to the commonwealth an appropriation request totaling $353.1 million for fiscal year 2021-22, representing a $14.2 million increase over 2020-21. The University’s appropriation request will now go to the full board for a final vote on Sept. 18.   

If the board approves the appropriation request and the state provides the additional support, the University’s appropriation would increase by 4.2% overall, from $338.9 million for the current fiscal year to $353.1 million in 2021-22. The University’s request will be submitted to the state later this month, and Penn State will continue to engage in discussions with leadership in Harrisburg until a final appropriation amount is determined by the General Assembly and governor as part of the state budget process in late June 2021. 

“We understand the fiscal realities that the commonwealth is facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we remain grateful that Gov. Tom Wolf and the General Assembly were able to maintain education funding levels across the board for the current fiscal year,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “State support plays an integral role in Penn State’s ability to carry out its land-grant mission of teaching, research and service, especially given the pandemic’s impact on the University’s resources and the financial stress it has created for our students and their families. Increased state funding will further advance our efforts to provide Pennsylvania students with an affordable, world-class education close to home; support agriculture and rural communities; drive economic growth and innovation; and enable access to quality health care.”  

More than 50,000 Pennsylvania resident students and their families receive an in-state tuition rate each year as a direct result of state support. State appropriations also are critical to Penn State Agricultural Research and Extension operations that support Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry, and they provide important funding for Pennsylvania College of Technology and the Penn State Health enterprise. 

This year’s appropriation request again includes $2.35 million in new funding for the Invent Penn State initiative to expand entrepreneurial programming and strengthen and grow its network of innovation hubs. The University has opened 21 innovation hubs since 2015 that are helping to drive advancements and economic activity in Penn State Commonwealth Campus communities statewide, supporting more than 2,500 early-stage startup businesses. The additional funding would enable Penn State to expand access to the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program to support more businesses; expand established startup pitch competitions and summer entrepreneurship training programs; and explore the creation of new innovation hubs in underserved areas of the state. 

In total, Penn State’s appropriation request for 2021-22 includes:

  • $249.4 million for the University’s Education and General Budget, an increase of 3%, or $7.3 million, over 2020-21. The University’s General Support appropriation helps to offset the cost of in-state tuition for Pennsylvania resident students across all Penn State campuses, which serve some of the most economically challenged regions of the state, and supplements efforts to address access and affordability. If the commonwealth provides the requested General Support appropriation, Penn State will use these funds to minimize the impact of projected cost increases on the tuition of Pennsylvania residents.
  • $58.3 million for Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension, an increase of 6%, or $3.3 million, to cover inflationary cost increases and invest in several high-priority areas, such as combatting the spotted lanternfly and other invasive pests, safeguarding and helping to grow the state’s animal agriculture industry, and implementing water-quality solutions, among others. These programs serve citizens and the agriculture industry in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, and because these activities are not supplemented with tuition, appropriation increases are necessary to keep pace with rising costs.
  • $27.5 million for Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, an increase of 3%, or $802,000, to support technological and laboratory upgrades, primarily in the high-demand plastics and polymer engineering technology and physician assistant programs. 
  • $15.6 million for Penn State Health and the College of Medicine, an increase of 3%, or $453,000, for medical assistance funding.
  • $2.35 million in new funding for economic development, in support of continued growth of the Invent Penn State initiative. 

This is the first step in the appropriations process, and there are many factors that contribute to a final state appropriation and 2021-22 University operating budget, which will be adopted by the Board of Trustees in July 2021.

Last Updated September 17, 2020