In the midst of a Pennsylvania state budget impasse, Penn State President Eric Barron wrote a letter published on Tuesday urging Pennsylvania residents in the Penn State community to contact legislators.
The state was supposed to pass a budget by July 1, but it did not meet the deadline, much like during the 2015-16 budget season when the impasse lasted until March. As a land-grant university, Penn State’s two major sources of revenue for the education and general budget are tuition and state appropriations, which Barron said the university receives about $250 million from the state for the year.
“This funding may be in jeopardy and we need your help,” Barron wrote, saying that Pennsylvania residents should “contact their state legislator to encourage them to finish the state budget and fund Penn State.”
“Our state’s leaders continue to negotiate how best to raise enough revenue to fund the Commonwealth’s operations, but there is a fundamental question regarding whether the state has enough revenue to fund Pennsylvania’s public institutions of higher education, including Penn State,” Barron continued.
“This puts the in-state tuition rate in jeopardy, and it would compromise our ability to conduct the research, extension education, and health services that are vital to our citizens.”
Isaac Will, the governmental affairs chair for the University Park Undergraduate Association, said earlier in September that legislators were proposing the idea of flat funding, no increase or decrease from the state.
“Obviously, however, as the impasse continues, a number of different possibilities are being thrown around — except for an increase,” Will said.
Read the entire letter below:
We are proud of Penn State’s role as Pennsylvania’s land-grant university and what it means to be a public institution. We fulfill our mission through excellence in education and a powerful commitment to service to the Commonwealth. Since 1855, the General Assembly has been our partner in helping us serve Pennsylvania’s residents. One of the hallmarks of our partnership has been an annual state appropriation that is approximately $250 million. As a direct result of this state funding, Penn State offers more than $570 million in tuition savings to nearly 55,000 Pennsylvania resident students.
This funding may be in jeopardy and we need your help.
Now, three months after this fiscal year’s budget deadline, legislators in Harrisburg have not yet finalized the Commonwealth’s budget. Our state’s leaders continue to negotiate how best to raise enough revenue to fund the Commonwealth’s operations, but there is a fundamental question regarding whether the state has enough revenue to fund Pennsylvania’s public institutions of higher education, including Penn State.
This puts the in-state tuition rate in jeopardy, and it would compromise our ability to conduct the research, extension education and health services that are vital to our citizens.
I urge every Pennsylvania resident in our Penn State community to contact their state legislator to encourage them to finish the state budget and fund Penn State. For those of you who do not reside in Pennsylvania, please be aware of this situation and how it may impact future Penn Staters and the amazing contributions that Penn State makes to society overall.
For more than 150 years the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has upheld our partnership by supporting our mission with an annual appropriation. Should the General Assembly fail to provide an appropriation for Penn State, there will be no funding to offset the cost of a Penn State education and in-state tuition is at risk.
To protect our university from devastating cuts that will impact our ability to deliver on our mission, we must make our voices heard in Harrisburg!
Whether you are a current student, parent, alumnus, employee, or supporter, you understand what Penn State has accomplished and what we strive to do as a public university. Click here to contact your state legislators and ask them to support Penn State’s funding.
Access to an affordable world-class education is at the heart of our mission, and a key to making Pennsylvania a thriving, economically competitive state. Since 1855, Penn State has responsibly served our citizens with the support of our elected officials in Harrisburg. Now more than ever we need to remind them to continue that support.
Thank you for your support, and for being a part of the Penn State community.
Raise the Song!
Eric J. Barron
Penn State President