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Breaking Down The PRCC’s Funding Sources

Yesterday, we published a post about the Paul Robeson Cultural Center’s closure for the remainder of the week due to a lack of student support, which the Center announced on its social media accounts Monday night. The Center has since reopened, resuming normal hours this morning.

We received a litany of backlash on Twitter about our assertion that the PRCC is funded by student fee dollars, as allocated by the Student Fee Board and approved by the Penn State Board of Trustees.

To clear the air, here’s a quick breakdown of how exactly the PRCC is funded:

Penn State General Fund

While Penn State’s general fund can seem complex to understand, it is primarily based in two sources: state appropriations and student tuition. The general fund is then budgeted to each administrative unit, including the academic colleges, commonwealth campuses, and of course student affairs, which houses the PRCC.

Penn State’s budget website has information available through the 2016-2017 school year, when the university’s general fund totaled $2,226,721,607. Here’s how the general fund was broadly allocated:

Of these funds, $127,616 was budgeted under student affairs for the PRCC. The overall general fund budget doesn’t provide more specific detail beyond this.

Student Fee Dollars

PRCC programming is funded by the Student Fee, as allocated by the Student Fee Board last spring and approved by the Penn State Board of Trustees over the summer. Here’s what the PRCC’s total allocation request to the Student Fee Board originally looked like:

For the 2017-2018 school year, every fee-paying Penn State student contributes $2.15 per semester to the PRCC. In calculating the total student fee dollars during meetings last year, the Student Fee Board based their estimates on a total enrollment of 82,545 per year — 41,272.5 students enrolled at Penn State for each the fall and spring semesters.

This amounts to a total allocation for the PRCC of $177,471.75. Because these enrollment numbers are from the 2015-2016 school year and enrollment generally increases incrementally, we’ll go with about $180,000 per year in student fees allocated to the PRCC’s programming.

Additionally, the PRCC’s funding request and ultimate allocation both increased significantly for the 2017-2018 academic year. During the Student Fee Board meeting when the Center was explaining its request, employees noted a planned uptick in programming as part of an effort to expand the PRCC’s visibility among students. Here’s what the PRCC’s UPAC allocation looked like since 2010.

Ultimately, the PRCC receives more of its funding from student fee dollars than it does from the university’s general fund.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa is a senior public relations major and the managing editor of Onward State. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Send questions and comments via e-mail ([email protected]) and follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.


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