Penn State proposes 3.49 percent tuition increase for in-state University Park students

jvanderk@centredaily.comSeptember 19, 2013 

— A proposed tuition increase of 3.49 percent for in-state University Park students in 2014-15 was announced Thursday morning at a Penn State board of trustees meeting.

The increase is based on the university’s plan to request an additional $14.7 million in state funding, on top of the anticipated $285 million it will receive. That anticipated state contribution is flat compared to the 2013-14 academic year.

The Finance, Business and Capital Planning Committee approved the tuition request Thursday at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.

President Rodney Erickson will present the information for a vote of the full board Friday.

Other proposed tuition increases include 2.99 percent for out-of-state University Park students and 0 to 2.4 percent for undergraduates at Penn State’s branch campuses.

That’s higher than the increase for this academic year, which was 3.39 percent for in-state students.

If the university’s additional funding request is denied, it’s unclear how that will affect tuition rates next year.

“We’ll go back and re-evaluate everything,” said spokeswoman Annemarie Mountz. “It’s not just an automatic increase in tuition.”

Rachel Smith, Penn State’s budget officer, said the requested increase in state funding will be used for “basic expense increases” in the education and general budget, agricultural research and the Cooperative Extension, and the Pennsylvania College of Technology and Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

As part of next year’s preliminary budget, Smith said the university is looking at $38.2 million in expense reductions. Those will happen across the board, reaching all academic and administrative parts of campus.

Increases to the budget include a 2.5 percent base increase for employee salaries and benefits, plus a 1 percent increase to the President’s Excellence Fund, allowing for merit, market and equity adjustments.

Projected increases for health care, retirement and additional costs from the Affordable Care Act total $39.2 million.

Jessica VanderKolk can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @jVanReporter.

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