In-State Tuition: Safe for Now?

Photo by Abigail Roe

After a delay of about three months and plenty of nervous waiting, Penn State received funding from the state on Oct. 25. Resident students cheered while others had no idea what was truly in jeopardy. Well, to begin with, in-state tuition was.

President Barron briefed students about our dire situation on Sept. 26 in an email starting with, “We are proud of Penn State’s role as Pennsylvania’s land-grant university and what it means to be a public institution.” In the email,  he went on to urge residents to reach out to their legislators to finish the state budget. President Barron then concluded with a pull to our school spirit by saying, “Raise the Song!”

According to an article in Penn State News, The Penn State Board of Trustees approved the University operating budget in July that included a small tuition increase of 2.45 percent for resident students. While that is one of the lowest increases in 50 years, if the state of Pennsylvania had not provided the necessary funding in Oct. then there would have been a mid-year surcharge for students after the fall semester.

Most students were unaware of a possible extra charge while heading towards final exam week.

On Nov. 2 we received another email from The Office of the President commending us on our efforts to support Penn State. “For the first time, in a long time, we feared that Penn State’s land-grant partnership with the Commonwealth was truly at risk,” President Barron says. “ We are deeply appreciative of the nearly 10,000 Penn State supporters who took the time to contact their legislators in support of Penn State.”

If you are a resident of Pennsylvania, then celebrate that you can keep in-state tuition, for now. However, what would have happened had the appropriation, otherwise known as funding, not been approved? Most likely we would all be paying out-of-state tuition and be facing serious cuts on University programs. That’s a scary thought.

Consider all of the students who would then not be able to afford to finish their degrees at Penn State if we faced yet another, more extreme, increase in tuition. According to a U.S.News article, over the past 20 years “out-of-state tuition and fees at public National Universities have risen 194 percent and in-state tuition and fees at public National Universities have grown the most, increasing 237 percent.”

Tuition rates will increase about twice the amount of the general inflation rate every year.