Gov. Wolf Expected To Approve State Budget Including Increased Funding For Penn State
The magic of a UPUA #PassIt campaign strikes again — Pennsylvania lawmakers finalized a budget that Govenor Tom Wolf is expected to sign off on. Better yet, the 2016-17 budget, a $1.3 billion revenue package, didn’t require a nine-month stalemate.
Most importantly here in Happy Valley however is the general support appropriation increase. The Pennsylvania budget includes a 2.5 percent funding increase for Penn State and $600 million overall set aside for the state-related schools (Penn State, Pitt, Temple, and Lincoln).
The general support appropriations is used primarily to lower tuition for in-state students. In addition to the $230.4 million general support appropriation, Penn State also received $20 million for the Pennsylvania College of Technology (a $490,000 increase), $51.8 million for the Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension (a $1.26 million increase), and $13.4 million for the Hershey Medical Center.
“The legislature’s continued and increased investment will aid in our efforts to provide access to a world-class education for all qualified Pennsylvanians,” said President Barron. “We look forward to the continued strengthening of our 150-year partnership with the Commonwealth in the years ahead, for the benefit of Pennsylvania’s workforce and economy.”
The appropriation is the second increase to Penn State’s funding since 2008. Though the last budget caused such a headache, the university still saw a 5 percent increase over the previous years funding. Penn State continues to fight for the general funding appropriation it had in 2011 ($264.3 million) before the state handed down funding cuts to higher education.
The state will fund the budget with a variety of tax increases, including a $1.00/pack tax raise on tobacco products and a new tax that will apply to the online purchase of books, movies, games, music, and the like. The tax increases are some of the most significant for an election year for Pennsylvania in years.
Penn State’s Board of Trustees is planing to go over the budget and tuition schedule when it meets next week in Wilkes-Barre for the Board’s July meeting. Hopefully with the good news there won’t have to be any talk of layoffs and closures that scared the university during the last budget cycle.