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Penn State Trustees Approve Tuition Increases for 2011-'12

on July 15, 2011 5:03 PM

Voting without dissent, the Penn State trustees Friday approved undergraduate tuition increases ranging from 2.9 percent to 4.9 percent for the 2011-'12 academic year.

In-state undergraduates at University Park will see the 4.9 percent increase, while out-of-state students at the flagship campus will see a 3.5 percent increase. All undergraduates at non-University Park campuses will see a 2.9 percent increase.

"The very low increases for student attending our Commonwealth Campuses underscores our strong commitment to enable access for Pennsylvania students who may want to remain close to home to complete their degree programs," university President Graham Spanier told the trustees.

He noted that out-of-state students, whose tuition prices are roughly double those of in-state students, "pay the full cost of their education."

In-state students have the cost of their education subsidized by the university's state appropriation. But that appropriation has declined by about 19 percent -- or some $68 million overall -- for the 2011-'12 academic year.

Spanier said the overall average Penn State undergraduate tuition increase will be 3.8 percent in the coming year -- "one of the lowest increases in the nation." That amounts to an average increase -- in terms of dollars -- of $515, according to the university. (The tuition price for in-state freshmen at the University Park campus last fall was $14,412, plus more than $800 in fees.)

"Coupled with our low room and board rates, I believe we have succeeded in making a Penn State education reasonable in the face of the reduced appropriation," Spanier told the trustees.

According to The Daily Collegian, Spanier also said that increased applications from out-of-state students helped the university to keep the tuition increases to a modest level this year.
A complete overview of the university's tuition-and-fee structure is available through its official tuition website.

Also Friday, the university board approved the overall Penn State operating budget for 2011-'12. Among the noteworthy elements of the $4.1 billion spending plan:

  • Because of declines in state support, funding for Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension will be cut by $4.8 million and $5.7 million, respectively, Spanier said. He said the university's central administration is working with the College of Agricultural Sciences "to assemble a plan that provides some cushioning to the significant reductions that must take place.

"Anticipating less state funding last winter, the college leadership worked with the Office of Human Resources to develop and offer a voluntary retirement incentive to 120 eligible employees," Spanier went on. He said two-thirds of those workers accepted the offer, yielding savings of about $4 million.

Still, he said, a significant financial gap remains. The agricultural college is working with university administrators to "tackle the balance of the deficit," which inevitably will mean "the reduction of scores of positions that can no longer be supported with the elimination of almost one-fifth of the commonwealth's funding for these important activities," Spanier said.

  • Also as part of the state-funding decline, the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, run by Penn State, will lose about half its state support in the 2011-'12 fiscal year, which began July 1. That cut amounts to about $6.6 million in the medical center and College of Medicine's combined budget of about $1.4 billion.

Earlier coverage, including details of how Penn State has dealt with its state-funding cut partly through a pay freeze and other cost-reduction efforts, is linked below. It includes specifics about earlier Penn State tuition increases.

Among other business Friday, the trustees approved a $3.6 million project to renovate 8,000 square feet of classroom and laboratory space at the Breazeale Nuclear Reactor Building, on the University Park campus. The work there is expected to be complete by fall 2012.

Earlier coverage

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