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Spanier Still Committed To Penn State Pay Raises, Spokeswoman Says

on July 02, 2010 9:51 AM

Penn State President Graham Spanier remains committed to reinstating modest pay increases this year, even though the university won't see an increase in state funding, spokeswoman Lisa Powers said.

"He thinks it's important for the coming year to help our employees through their challenges and to keep Penn State competitive," Powers said Thursday. The university had imposed a wage freeze for most workers in the 2009-2010 year.

For 2010-2011, Powers said, Penn State is looking at maximum, merit-based pay raises of about two percent for those employees not covered under union contracts.

Earlier, in May, the university reported it was aiming for a cap of about three percent for those merit-based raises. (Separately, the 2,600 Teamsters-represented workers at Penn State saw a one-percent wage increase this month and will receive a 1.25-percent increase in February.)

But the non-union raises hinge largely on state appropriations, Powers said. Penn State sought a 3.9-percent increase in its state funding for 2010-2011. The plan for three-percent maximum raises depended in part on that funding boost.

This week, the state Legislature approved a budget that includes no funding increase for the university. Gov. Ed Rendell is expected to sign and finalize the spending plan by this weekend.

Meanwhile, the Penn State trustees are scheduled to meet July 9 in Dubois, where they will vote on tuition rates and the overall university budget for 2010-2011 -- including payroll expenses.

Powers said tuition-rate increases are inevitable but will be at "the lowest level possible without sacrificing quality."

This spring, Penn State indicated it could hold University Park tuition increases to 3.5 percent to 4.9 percent. But that depended on the state's growing its financial support for the university by 3.9 percent, to $360.9 million.

Now, with the news that state funding will be level for 2010-2011, it's not clear exactly how tuition rates may shake out.

"Right now, the (university) budget office is crunching numbers," Powers said. " ... I can't say for sure where the tuition increase will end up, but they're working diligently to keep it in the (three- to four-percent) range."

Earlier coverage: Spanier Has 'Overwhelming Support' For Contract Extension, Aide Says

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