Penn Says It’s Not Penn State… Rly!


UnderTheButton, a blog focused on Penn, picked up this helpful entry on that university’s FAQ.

Is Penn a state university? Where is Penn located?
No. The University of Pennsylvania is a private institution with no connection to Pennsylvania State University.

I’m glad Penn addressed that issue directly, I’d been worrying about it as of late, but there’s still one thing I’m wondering about. A professor told me today that Penn actually gets more government money than Penn State. Can anyone prove or disprove that statement?


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Creator of @OnwardState. Big fan of sweaters. Now at Fusion.


  1. Hi there PSU! Glad you liked our post. (U)Penn does a lot of research, owns a bunch of hospitals, and is one of largest employers in the Philadelphia region, all of which probably contribute to the government funding thing. Also, Pa.’s governor went to Penn, not PSU, so maybe he just likes us better?
    Just kidding! I think this is the beginning of a beautiful blogs-about-colleges-with-“Penn”-in-their-names friendship.

  2. Penn does not receive more state funding than Penn State. You can find the state budget for 2007-2008 here. The budget allots Penn State $334,230, 000 and Penn $49,420,000. The bulk of the Penn going to Penn, $39,450,000, is for the their Vet school. The rest goes to various medical programs. In total, the state gives $89,422,00 to non-state related universities and colleges.

    Federal funding is another issue, but Penn State gets a good deal of pork. So my guess is that Penn State beats out Penn at the trough. In terms of total research expenditures, which includes all sources Penn State and Penn are in a dead heat Penn State ranking 11th and Penn 12th last year. BTW, do not confuse spending a great deal on research with the quality of the research. Pork projects, which Penn State has more of than Penn, are award on the basis of political know how.

    I’m interested in what context your prof brought up the topic of government funding.

  3. Glad to see the comment from On the Button. We’ll have more linkage, I’m sure.

    Thanks for the info Veblen. The professor mentioned it as an aside during a discussion about free speech on college campuses, specifically the Willard Preacher. I’m not sure what he was basing the comment on.

    It seems like the amount of state funding per student could be higher for Penn than it is for Penn State, as we have 4 times as many undergrads at our main campus, plus all of the branch campuses.

  4. My guess is that the prof was making the point that public universities must respect the first amendment rights of individuals while private schools are not bound to do so. What then determines where a school is public or private?

    It is common here at Penn State, following the lead of Old Main, to suggest that the low funding levels from the state justifies Penn State acting as a private rather than public school. And to point out the unfairness of the fact that schools such as Penn that receive Commonwealth money are not held to the same standards as Penn State.But, as you see, there is a huge difference in the amounts of money given to these schools-Penn receives only about 14% of Penn State’s funding- and the use of these funds is restricted more at Penn than Penn State. Hence these arguments are a bit disingenuous.

    And at any rate it isn’t the amount of money, but rather the charters of the schools which which determine their status as public or private. Penn State is explicitly considered an instrumentality of the Commonwealth while Penn is not.

    By the way, an amount per student comparison of the allocations for these two schools would not be valid. Penn gets the money well delineated purposes such as its vet school or various medical programs. Specifically, Penn receives no state money for undergraduate education. The bulk of the money which Penn State receives goes into the schools general fund for it to spend as it see fit. Most of which goes to cover the cost of undergraduate education.

  5. Lolz,

    Let me be clear, I didn’t mean academic standards. And perhaps I shouldn’t have used the word standard at all.

    Specifically I had in mind, Spanier’s testimony last summer before a committee of the Pennsylvania Senate in which he argued against the strengthening and extension of Pennsylvania’s Right-To-Know Law to state-related universities. One of his arguments was that the bill wasn’t fair because the Commonwealth gives money to private universities too and the bill didn’t cover these schools.

  6. Pingback: A Little Misguided, No? | Onward State