Tuition hike at Penn State

July 11, 2008 4:25:11 PM PDT
Tuition is going up again at Penn State. University trustees on Friday approved tuition hikes of around 5 to 6 percent, with the exact percentage depending on factors like a student's academic year and what campus they attend.

For instance, freshmen and sophomores from outside Pennsylvania who attend Penn State's main campus in State College will see tuition rise by 4.7 percent to about $24,200 per year starting this fall. Penn State has more than 90,000 students at about two dozen campuses statewide, with nearly half of the student body at the main branch in State College.

Tuition for resident freshmen and sophomores at main campus will rise by 5.9 percent to just more than $13,000 annually.

Both resident and nonresident students at Penn State branch campuses will see a 5.3 percent increase in tuition, with totals differing by location.

Trustees on Friday also approved a $3.6 billion budget, up 5.1 percent from last year. The 2008-9 budget includes a $338 million appropriation from the General Assembly.

School president Graham Spanier said the budget reflected "concerted efforts to tighten our belts in the face of significant fiscal challenges." State appropriations to Penn State have increased by just more than 5 percent over the last eight years.

"This signals a trend in state practice, perhaps unintended, to shift more of the burden of the cost of higher education to students and their families," Spanier said in a statement. "This is a shift we lament."

Among the 11 Big Ten universities, Penn State had the highest total undergraduate tuition and fees for in-state, main campus students at $12,844 for the 2007-8 academic year, more than $1,700 higher than second-place Illinois.

Penn State ranked third-highest for out-of-state students at $23,712, behind Michigan and Illinois.

University spending was on par with inflation-related increases in higher education nationally, Spanier said, though Penn State had to cover increases in salary and benefits.

He said all units of the university would slash budgets by 1 percent, which would save another $7 million in tuition increases.

Penn State trustees also approved increases to certain fees including those for information technology and student activities.

That's in addition to a new student fee approved in May to fund improvements for nonacademic space.

University of Pittsburgh trustees also voted Friday to raise tuition for most students as part of the school's $1.7 billion budget for next year.

Tuition for in-state students at Pitt's main campus is going up 6 percent from last year to more than $12,800, while out-of-state students will see a 4 percent increase to more than $22,400.

--- On the Net: Penn State budget and tuition: http://www.budget.psu.edu/BOTJuly/ Pitt tuition: http://www.ir.pitt.edu/tuition/


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