Board of Trustees Committee Talks Tuition Hikes

Some Penn State students may be seeing a rise in their tuition as part of a university initiative to raise about $33.8 million in revenue.

The Penn State Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital received an update Thursday from Senior Vice President for Finance and Business and Treasurer of Penn State David Gray. Gray co-chairs the university’s Budget Planning Task Force which is charged with identifying ways to save money for the university by streamlining certain programs.

The task force is looking at differential tuition, meaning some students would get charged more for their tuition than others based on which college they are in.

Susan Welch, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and chair of the tuition fee subcommittee, says when they looked at where tuition increases could be made, demand was a primary factor.

“Our overarching view was tuition should follow cost and demand more than it does,” Welch says.

Some of the colleges that might see tuition increases would be information, science and technology, nursing, science, business, earth and mineral science and engineering. Welch says students in colleges that would have higher tuition would see the increase in their last two years.

Welch says it is important to keep the base level of tuition for the first two years, and that strong recommendations for need-based financial aid will need to be made for the plan to work.

One of the reasons differential tuition was considered was because of waning state appropriations.

You just have to look for places to streamline,” Welch says.

One of the major possible changes would include tacking onto students who take more than 19 credits a 50 percent surcharge per credit.

The committee also is recommending the updating of the university’s Integrated Student Information System, which houses the university’s admissions records, and is also the force behind eLion.

Michael Büsges, director at Penn State’s Enterprise Project Management Office, says the system was state of the art when it was created in the 1980’s, but has since grown obsolete. The project would be a $64.6 million ongoing initiative.

The new system would be able to help students manage billing, transcripts and student aid. It will also be the foundation for a new eLion.

Associate Vice President of Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant Ford Stryker also gave a report this morning on various construction projects around campus and how far they have come. According to Stryker, the HUB renovations are currently about $2 million over budget.

$44,600,000 was originally authorized for the project, but current estimates are at about $46,300,000. Some contributing factors to this, Stryker says, were underground utility conflicts and foundation issues.

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