Board of Governors approves $240 tuition increase
July 10, 2015
Harrisburg, Pa. - Students at Slippery Rock University and the 13 other Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education universities will see a modest tuition increase for the 2015-16 academic year. The Board of Governors at its quarterly meeting July 9 approved raising tuition $240 while pledging to continue to seek additional state funding to support the universities' operations.
The 14 State System universities have made more than $270 million in combined budget cuts over the last decade, and would need to make about $30 million in additional cuts next year if state funding is not increased. The System has not received a funding increase from the state in seven years and currently is receiving the same level of funding it did in 1997-98 - 17 years ago.
"Even with the modest tuition increase we approved today, the universities still would need to make significant budget cuts without any increased funding from the state again next year," said Board of Governors Chairman Guido Pichini. "We will continue to talk with the Governor and the Legislature to seek their support on behalf of our students and their families."
The last time state funding to the System was increased was in 2007-08. Since then, the System's appropriation has been cut three times, including by 18 percent in 2011-12. The System has received the same amount of funding from the state for the last four years.
The Board of Governors voted to set tuition for next year without a state budget in place, at least in part because of the large deficits the universities face. Without a tuition increase, and without an increase in state support, the universities would need to cut their budgets by a combined $66.8 million this year.
The action taken by the Board July 9 sets next year's base full-time tuition rate for Pennsylvania residents - who comprise about 90 percent of all State System students - at $7,060. Even with the increase, the State System universities will remain the lowest-cost option among all four-year colleges and universities in the state.
The tuition increase will provide about half of the additional funds the universities need to balance their budgets. Significant cost increases are expected this year in several areas, including healthcare and pension contributions, over which the universities essentially have no control. Although most of the universities also are expecting their enrollments to declines slightly, as the number of high school graduates in the state continues to drop, which will result in reduced revenue, Slippery Rock University is expecting a slight increase in enrollment, particularly among graduate students.
"Our university leadership, especially our presidents, should be commended for everything they have done to control costs and to continue to ensure their institutions are providing a high-quality, high-value education to students," Pichini said. "It is essential the state continues its investment in the State System, and increase that investment for the benefit not just of our students, but the entire Commonwealth."
Full-time, nonresident tuition will range from about $7,413 to $17,650.
"The education our universities provide continues to represent a tremendous value," said State System Chancellor Frank Brogan. "The quality of programming remains high, and the array of academic programs that is offered is continually being enhanced and redesigned to meet the needs of employers across Pennsylvania and the nation."
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