PSU Has No Best Budgetary Move Right Now

All in, the average underclassman will see a $1,040 increase in his final bill this year. This is about at 4.8% increase in total cost from last year.

But, if you recall one of our earlier posts, Penn State reported a record number of donations in fiscal 2008-09.”

The increase might not be as impressive as they’d like you to think, but at least it’s all going to the right place: student scholarships.

The press release had this to say about the current campaign,

The campaign’s top priority is scholarship support for students. About $150 million of total campaign commitments has been secured for that goal, according to Tombros.

“The current economic climate has underscored the vital nature of this priority, as families and students struggle with job losses and dwindling college savings,” he said. “Clearly, our alumni and friends believe deeply in the enduring value of a Penn State education.

What I don’t understand is this… bear with me here, it’s a little tricky.

Rendell tried to cut Penn State out of state appropriations earlier this summer, arguing that it and three other universities were not as “public” as the 14 schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, in large part because they weren’t as transparent as the PSSHE.

Veblen had found this excerpt from a speech given by Spanier in 2007 that highlights the core debate (emphasis Veblen’s):

This proposal goes far beyond making Penn State accountable for how it spends public funds. Should such legislation pass, we would be treated as if we were part of state government, as if we were a state agency. We are not. We are a university that operates in a highly competitive environment. We are put at a competitive disadvantage when certain information must be revealed that is proprietary, or where such revelation would put us at a disadvantage.

Spanier’s also said that such Right to Know would injure relationships with prospective donors, who might be less inclined to share their assets if they were also forced to share more information than they wanted to.

My point is this: Penn State needs to continue raising money to stay sustainable, but to be most effective at fundraising, it need some allowance for proprietary records and discretion. However, Rendell has cut aid to Penn State partly because he wants more transparency in Penn State’s fundraising. And, since he’s cutting the aid, Penn State needs to raise even more money.

It’s a cycle and a stalemate, and the students are the biggest losers.

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


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