Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett announced a budget plan Friday that includes level funding for Penn State and other state related universities.
Accompanied by university representatives in Harrisburg, Governor Corbett unveiled the higher education section of the state budget which includes a $1.58 billion contribution to higher education in Pennsylvania.
“Our message to college students today is that both my administration and the leaders of your state and state-related schools are committed to making the dream of higher education attainable,’’ Corbett said.
This is the second straight year Penn State will likely receive flat funding from the state, which amounts to just under $279 million, most of which is used to subsidize in-state tuition. The last appropriations cut occurred in 2011-2012, where Penn State saw a 20 percent cut from the previous year. Governor Corbett had proposed a 50 percent budget cut in 2010 and a 30 percent cut the following year, although both numbers softened by the state legislature.
This necessitated a 2.4 percent in tuition this year, although it was the smallest percentage increase since 1967. Penn State requested an increase to $289.5 million this year.
“I think both sides understand that a young man or a young woman’s future should not begin with a mountain of debt,” Corbett said. “Our young people appreciate the investment Pennsylvania’s taxpayers make toward their education.”
The governor’s entire 2013-2014 state budget will be revealed to the Pennsylvania General Assembly on Tuesday. Corbett said that university leaders promised to keep tuition “as low as possible” in exchange for the investment from the state.
“We understand that this is the beginning of a long process and that legislative support is required, but this early indication of your support for funding at at least last year’s level, will allow us to give early assurance to our students — current and prospective — that they will be able to continue to afford a Penn State education,” said Penn State vice provost Robert Pangborn, who attended the press conference.
Penn State has gradually seen a decrease in state appropriations over the last several decades. In 1970, Pennsylvania provided 62 percent of the entire university budget. Today, that number is less than 14 percent.
“We’re taking the important steps to make Pennsylvania’s post-secondary education system the absolute best in the world and a system accessible to every young person in the state,” Corbett said.