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Tuition increase for PA State System universities smallest in over decade

Harrisburg, Pa — Continuing efforts by the universities to contain their costs, combined with a second straight year of increased investment by the Common...

Harrisburg, Pa — Continuing efforts by the universities to contain their costs, combined with a second straight year of increased investment by the Commonwealth, helped enable the Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education to approve the smallest percentage tuition increase in more than a decade.

The $89-per-semester increase approved today by the Board for the 2016-17 academic year will set the base tuition rate for most full-time Pennsylvania residents—who comprise about 90 percent of all State System students—at $3,619 per semester, or $7,238 for the full year. Even with the modest increase, the State System universities will remain the lowest-cost option among all four-year colleges and universities in the state.

The 14 State System universities have eliminated nearly $300 million in expenditures from their combined operating budgets over the last decade in order to balance their budgets and to help hold down student costs. The Commonwealth, meanwhile, has boosted funding to the State System by about $31.5 million over the last two years, after seven straight years of flat or reduced general fund appropriations.

“The universities have worked extremely hard to control their day-to-day operating costs, even in the face of enormous fiscal challenges,” said newly elected Board Chair Cynthia D. Shapira. “Many of those challenges remain; but, with the benefit of increased funding from the state again this year, the Board was able to approve a very modest tuition increase for next year.

“We are grateful to the Legislature and Governor Wolf for the increased investment in our students and our universities, and we pledge to make the most of that investment, to help ensure our students have continued access to high-quality, high-value educational experiences that will lead to their future success.”

The recently passed 2016-17 state budget includes about $444.2 million for the State System, up from about $412.8 million in 2014-15. The System received an approximately $20.6 million increase last year and will get an additional $10.8 million this year.

“The funding we receive from the state represents an important investment that benefits not only our students, but also the Commonwealth, where the vast majority of our students reside and where they will remain after graduation to live, work and raise their families,” said Chancellor Frank T. Brogan. “Their success is very much tied to Pennsylvania’s success.”

Even with the consecutive increases in Commonwealth support, the State System will receive about $60 million less from the state this year than it did in 2007-08, just before the onset of the recession that severely impacted both the state and national economies and led to several years of funding cuts to the System.

Nonresident, undergraduate tuition also will increase by 2.5 percent and will range from $10,858 to $18,096 for the 2016-17 academic year. The technology fee will be $448 for full-time resident students, and $682 for full-time nonresidents.

The resident, graduate tuition rate will be $483 per credit, an increase of $13. The nonresident, graduate tuition rate will increase by $20 per credit, to $725.

Source: Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education