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Penn State Freezes In-State Undergrad Tuition for 2nd Straight Year

by on July 18, 2019 2:30 PM

For the second consecutive year and third in the last five, Penn State will freeze base tuition for Pennsylvania resident undergraduate students at all campuses.

The university's Board of Trustees on Thursday approved tuition rates as part of a $6.8 billion 2019-20 budget plan during its meeting at Penn State Brandywine. At University Park, tuition for lower division, full-time, in-state undergrads will remain $8,708 per semester.

For out-of-state undergraduate students, tuition will increase 1.95 percent, which according to the university is the lowest nonresident tuition increase in more than 20 years. At University Park, the increase will bring lower division, out-of-state undergraduate tuition to $17,240 per semester.

Eight of Penn State’s 19 undergraduate Commonwealth Campuses — Beaver, DuBois, Fayette, Greater Allegheny, Mont Alto, New Kensington, Shenango and Wilkes-Barre — will have no tuition increase for the fifth consecutive year

“As part of our land-grant partnership with the Commonwealth, it is imperative that we do all that we can to keep a Penn State education within financial reach for Pennsylvania students and their families,” Penn State President Eric Barron said in a statement. “Thanks to support from leaders in Harrisburg, together with cost savings identified in the University budget, we’re able to present to the board a fiscal plan that keeps resident undergraduate tuition rates steady, while continuing to offer world-class educational experiences for our students.”

Barron said during his presentation to the board that in real dollars students pay less for a Penn State education than they did five years ago, and that Penn State's tuition increases over the past five years have been among the lowest in the Big Ten.

The student Information Technology Fee will be frozen at $252 per semester for the fifth consecutive year. The Student Initiated Fee, a combination of the former Student Activity and Student Facilities fees that began in 2017, will be $265 per semester at University Park, a decrease of $2 from last year. At most Commonwealth Campuses the Student Initiated Fee will increase by $4 per semester, with rates varying by campus. The Student Initiated Fee is set and allocated by student-run boards.

The university's budget is supported by a 2 percent increase in its state appropriation for this year, with a total of $337.2. It also includes  $35.5 million in cost savings measures.

The total budget is a 4.8 percent increase over last year's $6.4 billion budget. Penn State Health System, a self-supporting enterprise, comprises $2.7 billion of the 2019-20 budget. It includes, among other initiatives $16.5 million for facility and maintenance needs; $8.6 million to cover projected cost increases related to employee benefits; and $33 million for  "compensation adjustments," including a 2.5 percent pool for merit-based pay increases, contractual amounts for labor agreements with unionized employees, and 3 percent increases in graduate assistant stipends.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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