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Board Of Trustees Approves Lowered Summer Tuition Rates, Announces Alumni Election Results

Penn State’s Board of Trustees met virtually Friday to approve a number of items including lowering summer session tuition rates, approving an interim operating budget, and announcing elections results.

The board unanimously passed a motion to adjust both undergraduate and graduate summer session tuition rates to accommodate the economic challenges students face amid the coronavirus pandemic, as recommended by its Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning Thursday.

Following the change, Penn State’s University Park, Abington, Altoona, Berks, Erie, and Harrisburg campuses would move down to “tier three” tuition rates, while all other campuses would fall to “tier five.”

Compared to the already-established summer tuition rates, full-time, in-state University Park students would save nearly $2,000, while full-time out-of-state students would save approximately $6,000.

“I want to make sure everybody realizes that this is entirely focused on us understanding the financial challenges that many of our students are facing,” President Eric Barron said Thursday. “[It] uses existing tuition structure and levels but essentially is a discounting that is occurring directly in recognition [of students’ struggles].”

Earlier this spring, Penn State moved summer session courses online amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, the university remains optimistic it could return to in-person instruction mid-summer should health guidelines allow it to.

The Board of Trustees also passed an interim operating budget of approximately $6.853 billion, as recommended by the finance committee Thursday. The interim funds would support Penn State until it passes a budget for the upcoming fiscal year when the Board of Trustees meets in July.

The board also approved naming the university’s planned art museum the “Palmer Museum of Art,” as recommended by a committee Thursday. Members felt naming the museum after the Palmers would honor the philanthropic donors, who’ve donated an excess of $56 million to the university over the years in both donated art and cash gifts.

Although the name is approved, construction will be voted on by the board at a later date. A few members abstained from voting, citing the university has more pressing matters to address in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Following reports from President Barron and the Faculty Senate, Rob Tribeck announced the three alumni elected to the board following this spring’s Alumni Trustee Elections.

More than 18,000 ballots were cast in the election. Jay Paterno received 14,654 votes, Alice Pope received 13,205 votes, and Anthony Lubrano, the former outspoken trustee who served from 2012-2018, received 12,919 votes.

The three will round out the board’s nine alumni-elected seats and serve three-year terms beginning July 1, 2020.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

By day, Matt is a senior majoring in journalism. By night, he's Onward State's managing editor. He's a huge Philadelphia sports fan, fantasy football lover, and washed-up drummer hailing from Collegeville, Pa. The quickest way to his heart is Margherita pizza and "Arrested Development" quotes. Follow him on Twitter @mattdisanto_ if you hate yourself or email Matt at [email protected] if you hate him.

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