Pennsylvania Budget Impasse Scaring Old Main
The state of the Pennsylvania budget is currently at a stand-still…as it has been for the last seven months.
This lack of a budget from Harrisburg is scaring Old Main, and rightfully so: being a state-related university, Penn State receives state funding that helps cover some of the university’s budget and keep tuition down. In fact, last year saw Penn State’s appropriation go up which led to a tuition freeze for in-state students, a condition of the bonus.
Pennsylvania being unable to settle the nickels and dimes down for good can hurt students directly and indirectly. Those who rely on state grants from PHEAA have yet to see their funds. At the university, the administration can only wait so long before it starts looking for ways to fill the gap, and it’s not really sure when that would be or how they would do it. No one wants to run a university — the kind of place that makes strategic plans and argues over the money spent to keep its Board of Trustees comfortable — from a point of uncertainty.
The stalemate is even the focus of President Barron’s latest blog post (which is only the second in his effort titled “Digging Deeper,”) in which he outlines the stresses that the impasse places on Penn State.
Barron admits in his post that he spent a day tracking down a number of representatives in the state capitol and lobbying for Penn State to get its money. The president argued, like he did in an effort to get more appropriations, that the university is an economic powerhouse for the state and return on investment to the state is high because of the number of students Penn State educates.
Basically, the administration wants something, or at least wants to know what it’s going to get from Harrisburg. Penn State can’t move forward with its plans until knows what it can expect. This includes things like construction projects that could face serious delay if no budget is reached. With a big renovation on the horizon and an athletic director who may not be best when it comes to balancing the checkbook, it makes sense that Old Main is collectively hitting refresh waiting for an email with some kind of number they can work with.