Temple receives state funding after months of back and forth in state House

The bill gives Temple the same appropriation they’ve had for the last five years.

Temple's Board of Trustees has voted to increase tuition for both in-state and out-of-state students for the fourth straight year. | ROBERT JOSEPH CRUZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

A bill containing Temple’s state funding for the 2023-24 fiscal year was signed into law by Governor Josh Shapiro Thursday.

Temple will receive $158.2 million through House Bill 1461, the same amount of money the university has received from the state for the past five years. State funding goes directly toward students’ in-state tuition discount, which means the discount will remain in place for the next academic year.

Four and a half months have passed since the fiscal-year deadline of June 30, when House Republicans blocked state-related university appropriation bills from passing the two-thirds majority vote.

House Republicans opposed the funding for many reasons, including the universities’ unwillingness to commit to a tuition freeze. Republicans also advocated for stronger Right-to-Know laws — which requires institutions to make financial and other relevant data public —  for state-related universities. 

While Shapiro also signed a bill Thursday amending the Right-to-Know law to include state-related universities, a bill that would have mandated a tuition freeze for universities to receive the funding was not considered in the state Senate before the current appropriations passed.

Freezing tuition for a year would not have been possible without consequences to the budget, as the university would have had to make program reductions and job cuts to make up for what would have been a $26 million loss in revenue, said Ken Kaiser, chief operating officer and senior vice president.

Attending college in Pennsylvania costs almost 70 percent more than the national average cost of attendance at a public four-year institution, according to the Education Data Initiative, an organization that collects and reports statistics about the American education system. 

The state is ranked as the nation’s most expensive state for higher education, according to U.S. News and World Report, which considers graduation rate, cost of in-state tuition and fees and the debt that college graduates carry from higher education. Temple and fellow state-related universities, like Penn State University and University of Pittsburgh, each raised tuition last year.

HB 1461 originally contained only Lincoln University’s appropriations and was amended on Nov. 13 in the Senate to include all four universities. It passed 45-5 in the Senate, then 146-54 in the House. The bill takes effect immediately.

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