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Pitt, Penn State Remain 1-2 in Public University Tuition Costs

Penn State is still one of the most expensive public universities in the country, but at least it’s not atop the list — Pitt’s main campus was the most expensive public university in 2012-13, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s statistics.

Our pals from the west topped the list with a total annual tuition of $16,590, while University Park was second at $16,444. It’s the second straight year the pair of schools has gone 1-2 in these data, with Pitt seeing an increase from 2012’s $16,132 mark, and Penn State doing the same from its $15,984 of 2012. Penn State does beat (or lose to?) Pitt in overall net prices: Main campus will run you $22,560 (second on the list), while Pitt will cost $21,641 (fourth).

Branch campuses also plague the data:

  • Spots 10-14 are respectively held by the Penn State-affiliated Penn College and four branch campuses, with Penn College charging $14,370, and Berks, Harrisburg, Erie, and Altoona running their students $13,900.
  • No.’s 25-28 are respectively held by Brandywine, Greater Allegheny, Mont Alto, and Abington, which charge $13,356.
  • Lehigh Valley and Beaver take up spots 30 and 31 with a $13,350 charge.
  • Finally, New Kensington, Fayette and Hazleton round it out by charging $13,300.

If you’ve lost count, that makes 15 Penn State campuses taking up 34 of the list’s spots. Overall, the national public average increased from $7,135 to $7,407; the overall cost of living average was $11,582. Fellow state-affiliated school Temple also cracked the top 20, clocking in at No. 19 with a $13,569 mark. Big Ten partners Illinois and Minnesota also appeared, ranking eighth at $14,522 and 22nd at $13,459, respectively.

There was a time not long ago when Penn State did hold the dubious distinction of the list’s top spot, so at least Pitt is good for this. Penn State approved a 3.39 percent tuition increase last year, and tuition will be on the agenda for the Board of Trustees’ July meeting next week. Penn State couldn’t immediately be reached for comment; we’ll update when it responds.

Update: Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said declining state appropriations have played a significant role in the tuition increases. Penn State is currently at the same level of funding it was in 1996, when it had 20,000 less students, she said. Appropriations now only account for 14 percent of Penn State’s education budget; tuition and fees account for 79 percent.

About the Author

Tim Gilbert

Former Managing Editor of this site, now just makes lots of #content for it from the Phyrst’s Table 69. Senior from Philadelphia. First-generation Penn Stater. I might go to law school after this, but I might not, too. “For the Glory” is in my email signature because I’m a douche. [email protected] is my email if you want to tell me why I suck. Alternatively, you can call me out on Twitter @OlGilb.

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