The University of Pittsburgh has defeated Penn State, albeit in a rather dubious category.
According to the most recent U.S. Department of Education numbers, Pitt has surpassed Penn State as the most expensive public university in the country. Pitt’s $16,132 in-state tuition is just slightly higher than Penn State’s $15,984, and both are more than double the national average of $7,135. The USDE estimates that the average cost per year to live and learn at Penn State is $31,854 for in-state students.
Of the 15 most expensive schools, Penn State and its branch campuses take up a whopping five spots. Illinois is the only other Big Ten school to appear in the top 25.
“Each year, the state’s general support appropriation is used to offset the cost of tuition for Pennsylvania resident students and their families,” President Rodney Erickson said of the recent state budget. “‘Combined with Penn State’s significant and ongoing work to cut costs, continued state support will ensure that we are able to provide the Commonwealth’s best and brightest students with the opportunity to receive a top-flight education, no matter their socioeconomic background.” (emphasis added)
The university puts the blame squarely on waning state funding levels.
“The proposed 2013-14 state appropriation for Penn State is equal to what the university received in 1996, when 15,000 fewer students attended,” university spokeswoman Lisa Powers said to the CDT. “Our tuition increases have reflected a shift in financial responsibility from the commonwealth to the student as well as well as inflationary growth of expenses.”
For now, though, we can take some shallow solace in the fact that Penn State is no longer number one — and be jealous that we don’t go to Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas ($182…per year).