SCRANTON — The Penn State Board of Trustees approved a budget of nearly $4.3 billion dollars — one that will include a 2.4 percent average increase in tuition and a 2.9 percent increase for in-state University Park students — during its meeting Friday at the Penn State Worthington Scranton campus.
Penn State President Rodney Erickson proposed the budget for the 2012-13 academic year, which includes the lowest tuition increase since 1967. Out-of-state students would see a 2.4 percent increase for University Park campus and a 1.9 percent tuition increase for Commonwealth Campuses, Erickson said.
Before it was approved by the board, Erickson said in his budget presentment that the budget is balanced and provides for basic operating costs increases. Penn State's total approved institutional budget for the fiscal year, which began July 1, is $4,264,764,000.
Excluding the Hersheycampus and the Pennsylvania College of Technology, the university's tuition and fees cover 78.6 percent of the General Funds Budget, Erickson said. The General Funds Budget is made up of five key areas: Educational and General; Agricultural Research Cooperative Extension/The College of Medicine and Penn College.
The tuition breakdown was split by students’ years.
In-state freshmen and sophomores will pay $15,562 for this coming year while juniors and seniors in most majors will pay $16,826.
The budget includes a small increase in pay for staff. The university enacted pay freezes for the 2009-10 and 2011-12 budgets but had a 1 percent increase in January.
In summer 2011, Penn State's tuition increased 3.8 percent on average, with a 4.9 percent increase for in-state students at University Park.
The 2012-13 Pennsylvania Commonwealth budget enacted June 30 includes an appropriation to Penn State totaling $279 million, which represents the same level of funding as the original prior year appropriation, Erickson said.
Erickson also said that because of limited funds in cooperative extension programs and agricultural research, cuts will need to be made in those departments.
Trustee Keith Eckel was concerned about these cuts, saying that advancements in these fields have led to the fact that only a minor amount of the family income is spent on food.
Erickson commented on the relationship between the university and the state government and how it affects Pennsylvania education.
“This commitment from the state, in concert with Penn State's continued and significant cost-cutting measures, reflects the strength of our partnership as we work toward our mutual goal-ensuring the availability of a world-class education to students from all walks of life," Erickson said.