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Penn State Room and Board Fees to Rise as Student Applications Increase

by on March 07, 2014 4:23 PM

The Penn State Board of Trustees approved an increase in room and board fees at its public meeting Friday in Hershey.

The board approved a 4.2 percent increase in room and board fees for the 2014-15 academic year to cover an increase in costs and a 10-year plan to renovate student housing at University Park.

The increase equates to $200 a semester, bringing the total to $4,885 for a double room and the most common meal plan.

Gail Hurley, associate vice president for Auxiliary and Business Services, says the increase "is reasonable and represents good stewardship of our existing resources."

The 10-year housing plan includes renovating all of East and Pollock halls, or a total of 6,300 beds, focusing on two buildings per year.

Despite the increase, Hurley says Penn State's room and board costs rank 12th compared to 16 other schools, including Big Ten universities.

Hurley says Penn State is attempting to implement gradual tuition increases as opposed to one drastic hike. At the same time, expenses have increased with food costs up two percent and property expenses up 7.2 percent to $4.3 million.

In other news, outgoing Penn State President Rod Erickson says applications continue to increase. Baccalaureate applications have increased by nearly 9,000 compared to last year at this time, which is an increase of 19 percent at University Park and 8 percent at other campuses, Erickson says.

Out-of-state applications are up 26 percent. Pennsylvania applications are up 8 percent and international applications rose by 18 percent. Additionally, minority applications exceed those received last year to date by 16 percent.

The board also approved the sale of the Laurel Haven Property, which the university received as a gift in 1991 from Harold Mitzel and Jane Madsen. The donors wanted the 49-acre property -- that features a picnic area, pond and walking trails -- to be a site for environmental education and public use.

Ford Stryker with the Office of Physical Plant says the College of Agriculture Sciences rarely uses the property due to its distance from campus and increasing budget restrictions. The property is located a few miles outside of State College Borough.

Kevin and Margaret Brant, both university employees, have offered $350,000 for the property. Stryker says the Brants have negotiated the sale through a real estate broker.

Proceeds from the sale will go to the university's Condon Fund, an endowment that supports the College of Agriculture's Department of Ecosystem Science and Management.

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for StateCollege.com. She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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