Students and parents trying to plan for tuition at any state-owned or state-related university in Pennsylvania might be forking out some extra cash in the coming school year. As Reuters reports, the 30 percent funding cut proposed by Gov. Tom Corbett would result in students paying thousands more in tuition for four of the state's largest universities. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Gov. Corbett believes the cuts could be absorbed by reducing costs at the universities instead of hiking tuition.
Why is the 30 percent cut in funding so significant?
On its own a 30 percent cut in funding for many universities in Pennsylvania would be a blow; however, the potential for a cut in 2012-2013 follows the 2011-2012 budget year during which funding was cut 19 percent, as reported by The Morning Call. The governor originally called for a 50 percent reduction last year, and if the 30 percent cut stands, the two-year running total will be fairly close to the reduction the governor sought originally.
What happened after the nearly 20 cut last year?
After the 19 percent cut in 2011, the University of Pittsburgh raised tuition 8.5 percent, as reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and The Morning Call reported Penn State hiked tuition 4.9 percent and Temple raised tuition 10 percent. It stands to reason any further cuts in funding would probably result in another year of tuition hikes.
Will in-state students still get a discount?
According to the Patriot-News, further cuts will result in less of a discount for in-state students who choose to go Pennsylvania school. The article points to Penn State having an in-state tuition of just more than $15,000 and an out-of-state rate of just more than $27,000.
What other options could the universities pursue?
To balance the funding cuts, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports branch campuses could be minimized or closed, which would eliminate education options for many students. But Reuters also mentions that cutting programs or leaving positions unfilled is also an option universities will likely consider. The report also points out that the more money universities need to keep to control costs will result in less money for grants and scholarships, which will end up on the shoulders of students and parents.
Jason Gallagher is a longtime Pennsylvania resident. He has experiences in trends and developments in many regions from having lived in many parts of the Keystone State, and currently resides in the Pittsburgh area.
- Tom Corbett
- The Philadelphia Inquirer