Core Council Cuts Millions from University Expenditures
Last spring, Governor Tom Corbett and his Republican majority in the state government waged war against its public institutions of higher learning. Appropriations cuts of up to 50% were announced, which would’ve caused a catastrophic increase in tuition for the nearly hundred thousand students in the Penn State system, not to mention those at fellow state-related schools like Temple, Pittsburgh, and Lincoln, or the PASSHE colleges.
However, this fall, our tuition payments were more in line with what they’ve been the past few years. The raise was annoying but not staggering, not to the extent many expected. Part of the difference was made up by a restoration in funding to Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities, but that wasn’t the only factor that lessened the impact. Indeed, the University itself took a fine-toothed comb to its own spending, identifying areas of potential cuts and executing them to put as much state money into subsidizing student tuition payments.
Many of those cuts will be imperceptible to most students. For instance, big savings–to the tune of billions of dollars over the next 30 years–came from restructuring employee health care plans; other savings came from making campus more energy efficient. Something as simple as keeping the thermostats a notch higher in the summer and spring and a bit lower in winter promises to save big bucks for the cash-strapped university.
And while much consternation was felt over the loss of the renowned Science, Technology, and Society program (outside its home at Old Botany, there’s a sign proudly announcing that Penn State was the first university to offer an undergraduate program in STS), the University chose mainly to focus internally, so as to preserve the quality of education and life for students. Saving money by eliminating administrative waste seems to have been the chief objective of the Core Council–I imagine that something vaguely similar to Initech bringing in the two Bobs took place.
I feel terrible for the guy sitting across from them, being asked what exactly they do here, but I’m glad to see that the savings were passed along to my (parents’) checkbook. The job isn’t complete just yet, but it appears we won’t lose Penn State’s way of life.