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Penn State freezes tuition following Temple’s tuition hike

While Temple has raised tuition since 2013, Penn State’s Board of Trustees froze it for in-state students for the first time in almost half a century.

Penn State’s Board of Trustees froze base tuition for the first time in 49 years on Friday, after they had initially proposed to increase it by 2.7 percent for Pennsylvania residents.

The decision comes three days after Temple’s Board of Trustees approved a 2.8 percent hike for in-state and out-of-state undergraduate tuition, a trend that has continued since the 2013-14 academic year.

In that year, Temple also raised tuition by 2.8 percent for both in-state and out-of-state students. Last June, the Board of Trustees approved a 3.69 percent increase, the largest jump since tuition was frozen in the 2012-13 school year.

Ken Kaiser told The Temple News following Tuesday’s meeting that students should expect tuition to increase yearly around 3 percent, and that future raises will depend on state funding.

Meanwhile, Penn State had increased undergraduate tuition by at least 2.4 percent on a yearly basis since 2012-13, before it was frozen this Friday.

Penn State President Eric Barron said in a press release that the freeze was implemented because a decrease in state funding.

“As the cost of a public university degree continues to rise nationwide in the face of stagnant and declining state support, it is incumbent upon us to do all that we can to keep a Penn State degree within reach of every qualified Pennsylvanian,” he said in the release.

More details about the university’s budget are not yet available, but Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a nearly $50 million increase for Penn State in his budget proposal back in March, around $35 million more than what was allotted to Temple.

Wolf vetoed a Republican-passed budget bill last month, and both Penn State and Temple are still waiting for the state to pass its budget before finalizing their own budgets.

Penn State also has more money to spend from endowment funds. In 2014, it reported $2.285 billion in the category, while Temple reported $381.71 million – about a $1.903 billion difference. Part of that gap could be because of the difference in alumni engagement between the two universities.

Karen Clarke, vice president for strategic marketing and communications, told The Temple News in February that among 300,000 living Temple alumni, 89 percent are “not engaged” with their alma mater. She added that at a university like Penn State, that statistic would probably be flipped.

In order to help counteract the increase in tuition, President Theobald announced in a press release on Tuesday that Temple has added $6 million to student financial aid. Last year, about $86.6 million was allocated toward financial aid.

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@temple.edu or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.

 

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