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UPDATED: Pennsylvania Budget Freeze Means $11.4 Million Less for Penn State

on January 05, 2012 12:53 PM

UPDATED @ 12:53 p.m. Jan. 5: At this point, still hours into the budget-freeze announcement, "it's impossible to say" how Penn State will make up its state-appropriations shortfall, university spokeswoman Lisa Powers said.

But Penn State is "committed to absorbing this loss without negatively affecting our students," she went on in an e-mail message.

"We heard rumors of a freeze a few days ago and did not have all of the details" at that point, Powers wrote Wednesday evening. "Those details were provided (Wednesday) through the governor's announcement.

"We obviously knew of the tremendous budget shortfall facing the state and began taking steps early on to conserve and cut back in various areas," Powers added.

Earlier coverage is posted below.

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Earlier report, posted @ 5:51 p.m. Jan. 4:

A Pennsylvania budget freeze declared this week will shave five percent from Penn State's 2011-12 academic funding from the state, the university reported.

Penn State was to have received $279 million in state funding for the current academic year. That figure, finalized by lawmakers over the summer, already reflected a decline of about $68 million from the 2010-11 appropriations.

But the state budget freeze, announced Wednesday by Gov. Tom Corbett, means the university will lose another $11.4 million before the budget year is up in June. The freeze is meant to cover state revenue shortfalls that are nearing $500 million, Penn State noted.

It was not immediately clear how Penn State will fill the $11.4 million hole. In a news release, the university underscored that agricultural-research and Cooperative Extension funding will not be affected by the latest cut.

But the freeze will mean a $679,000 cut for Penn College, Penn State reported.

"The economy continues to struggle, and we understand the magnitude of the financial challenge the state is facing," Penn State President Rodney Erickson said in a prepared statement. "We already are operating with a lean budget, and had to make some difficult cuts going into this fiscal year.

"While we anticipated the potential for this and have conserved spending to help prepare for its likelihood, this loss of funding presents us with additional challenges," he went on. "Still, we are committed to absorbing this loss without negatively affecting our students. We do not plan to increase tuition to cover the loss in funding. We are grateful that our agricultural-research and Cooperative Extension lines, which already were seriously impacted, were spared additional cuts."

StateCollege.com will post additional information as it becomes available. Penn State's total annual budget is in the $4 billion range.

Earlier coverage

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