Undergraduate students at universities within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education face tuition and technology fee increases to help balance a $2.2 billion budget for the upcoming academic year.
The system’s Board of Governors on Tuesday approved a 3 percent tuition increase for 2014-15, bringing the tuition total to $6,820 for the academic year, or $3,410 per semester.
The change will impact full-time, undergraduate resident students enrolled at one of the 14 State System universities, including California, Clarion, Edinboro, Indiana and Slippery Rock in the Pittsburgh region.
Full-time, nonresident tuition will range from about $7,160 to $17,050 a year.
Students also will pay an additional $54 in technology fees, totaling $422 for the academic year for full-time in-state students. Nearly 90 percent of students enrolled in universities within the State System are Pennsylvania residents.
With the tuition raise and other anticipated fee increases, the total cost of attendance for a full-time, resident student at a State System university will average about $18,500 for the year. Other fees, including room and board, vary by institution.
In a news release, the State System said its 14 universities remain the lowest-cost option among four-year colleges and universities in the commonwealth.
“The universities are doing what they need to do to meet the needs of students and their future employers,” said chancellor Frank T. Brogan. “As those needs change, our universities are realigning and redesigning programs and developing new programs that will help ensure students gain the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in their careers and personal lives.”
The combination of steadily decreasing enrollment and unchanged state funding for the 14 universities has left the State System facing a $60 million budget gap.
The state Legislature passed its budget last week, allocating nearly $413 million to the State System, the same amount it has received since 2011-12 and about $90 million less than what it received in state and federal funds in 2010-11.
The tuition increase will account for only about half of the $60 million gap, leaving the universities to make additional cuts totaling about $30 million to balance the budget.
The State System also is projecting an enrollment number of 112,000 full-time students for the upcoming academic year, about 1,000 fewer than last year. During the 2012-13 academic year, the system had nearly 120,000 students.
Only Bloomsburg and West Chester universities had enrollment increases last year, State System spokesman Kenn Marshall said.
Six universities within the system also have new pricing plans that will allow flexible tuition and fees to be charged to students under a two-year pilot program.
Changes include discounts to military personnel enrolled in online programs at California University of Pennsylvania and Mansfield University. Those changes will be implemented in the fall.
The universities have saved more than $250 million over the past decade through cost-saving measures such as energy management, reducing staffing levels and eliminating lower-priority programs and functions, the system said.
“We are committed to being the most flexible, collaborative and student-centered university system in America, and this moves us another step in that direction,” Mr. Brogan said.
Clarece Polke: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1889. First Published July 8, 2014 12:00 AM