Penn State employees could see a "modest" salary raise as part of the 2012-13 university budget, which will be discussed at an upcoming Board of Trustees meeting on July 13, according to a release issued on Penn State on Thursday.
According to the release, Penn State President Rodney Erickson will propose a budget that would include a 2 percent salary increase.
Erickson said in the release that the increase was available in part due to "significant cost cutting, recycling and other budgetary adjustments" made by the university.
"After two years when a majority of faculty and staff saw no more than a one percent increase in their salaries, we believe it's important to make an effort to recognize the hard work and dedication of our employees as they continue to keep Penn State on track and productive in every area of our mission," Erickson said.
Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers wrote in an email that though this year's salary increase is possible due to cost cutting measures, she would not "speculate on the future, since the economic situation of the state, the nation and the institution could obviously change over time."
"Penn State has been in a cost cutting and cost recycling mode for decades, always trying to find the most efficient and effective ways to use resources," Powers wrote.
Last year, former university president Graham Spanier announced a salary freeze due to Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed budget, which included appropriation cuts for Penn State. The salary freeze was the second one in the last three years.
Associate Professor of Communications Ronald Bettig said the raises faculty have been receiving for the last 10 years have not kept up with the inflation rate.
"My paycheck is worth less today than it was 10 years ago," Bettig said. "A 2 percent raise is not going to in any way keep pace with inflation at a 2.5 percent rate right now."
Bettig said "good faculty are leaving because the pay raises are not keeping pace," adding that there has recently been a shift from hiring tenure-track professors to more graduate students and adjunct professors.
"This ultimately affects the quality of instruction that the students get," he said.
Maggie Deichert (graduate-international affairs) said that she would like to be a professor in the future and will go wherever she is given the best job offer.
Deichert also said that she has found the quality of instructors at Penn State to be "excellent."
"So far, all of my teachers have been very good," Deichert said. "They've been really hands on. They take care of their students. They push us. It's very good."
Powers said that other costs such as room and board and tuition would not be affected as a result of the salary raise. Powers said that the room and board rates were set in January for the coming year by the Board of Trustees, and the proposed tuition increase is already part of the budget that will be discussed at the Board of Trustees meeting.
"The approved room and board rates, the proposed tuition and the proposed salary increase are all part of the planned budget for the coming year, so I don't anticipate those figures will change, since the budget is currently based on those assumptions," Powers wrote.
Approved at the Board of Trustees' Jan. 20 meeting, the average room and board rate for next year will be $4,495 per semester, totaling to $8,990 for the academic year. This is a 2.86 percent increase from last year's rate of $4,370.
In the proposed university budget, Erickson proposed the smallest tuition increase for students in 45 years.
During a press conference on June 29, Erickson announced he would propose a 2.9 percent increase for University Park in-state students and a 1.9 percent increase for in-state students at Commonwealth Campuses.
"I don't think they should skimp on teachers," Deichert said. "That's probably the most valuable asset of this school, and I think that if they're trying to save money, it shouldn't affect the quality of the professors."