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Wolf Proposal Includes Taxes On Textbooks, Meal Plans, and Fees

At first glance, Governor Tom Wolf’s budget proposal looked as though it would be beneficial to Penn State as a whole. Upon closer review, students’ wallets may be taking a hit after all.

In his proposal, Wolf outlined his plan to increase the state’s sales tax from 6 percent to 6.6 percent. As part of the increase, more items would be subject to the tax, including higher education items like textbooks, meal plans, and fees — things almost every student must pay for during their time at Penn State.

With fees tacked on as requirements for tuition payments at Penn State, all students would see their tuition increase over the next year regardless of the university’s intentions on next year’s rates. By adding a 6.6 percent increase to the university’s current fee levels, students with a meal plan would see their payments increase anywhere between $295.35 and $364.65 each academic year. For students without a meal plan, the proposed tax would only amount in $30.69 more than they currently pay. This on top of the proposed tax on textbooks, which would result in additional $79.20 per year assuming a student spends $1,200 on books per year.

With the Student Activity Fee already increasing $2 next year, students can expect to see $2.13 more in taxes than they would have this year. That raise would result in $297.48 in taxes alone for a student with a meal plan, or almost the amount the Student Activity Fee and Facilities Fee combined. A full list of the fees pre and post tax can be found below:

Technology Fee

Pre-Tax: $252
Post-Tax: $268.63

Student Activity Fee

Pre-Tax: $95
Post-Tax: $101.27

Student Facilities Fee

Pre-Tax: $120
Post-Tax: $127.92

Meal Plan

Pre-Tax: $2,005-$2,530
Post-Tax: $2,137.33-$2,696.98

$295.35 to $364.65 — plus the tax on textbooks — might not seem like a lot of money to most, but that’s the difference between getting a gym membership, going to a bar more often, or even going on Spring Break for a student with a meal plan.

Governor Wolf’s budget proposal included increased funding for the university to the tune of $46.9 million. Although students can expect to see a low tuition increase if any at all, they will still get hit by one if Wolf’s sale’s tax passes the General Assembly with the rest of his proposed budget.

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About the Author

Ted Hozza

Ted is a senior majoring in Community, the Environment, and Development, or as his friends here at Onward State like to call it, Architecture. You can probably find him at the Phyrst late at night with other Onward Staters if he's not somewhere else editing articles. You can follow him on Twitter @TedHozza or email him at [email protected].

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