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Board Of Trustees Committee Recommends Tuition Freeze, Lowered Room & Board Rates

Penn State’s Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning met virtually Thursday morning to officially recommend a tuition freeze for students and lowered room and board rates for the fall semester.

The committee’s proposed tuition freeze would apply to all undergraduate and graduate students, both in and out of state.

If approved by the full Board of Trustees Friday, this would be the third year in a row tuition rates remain stagnant for in-state students.

The committee’s proposed 2020-2021 tuition rates

Penn State’s budget officer, Mary Lou Ortiz, reiterated these rates would remain the same regardless of method of instruction should they be approved by the board. If students were to return home and finish the fall or spring semester remotely, tuition would not be refunded in any way.

Although Penn State plans to return to in-person instruction this fall, it noted it’s prepared to revert to remote learning at any time should it need to as the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen. This week, Penn State estimated around 47% of its courses will be taught in-person in one way or another this fall.

Penn State President Eric Barron commended the committee’s recommended tuition freeze and cited the effort should help students, employees, and families who may be struggling amid the pandemic.

Later, the committee recommended reducing fall semester room and board rates to reflect the university’s shortened in-person residency. As it stands, Penn State plans to bring students on to campus in August and send them home by November 22 before wrapping up the semester online.

Presented by associate vice president for Auxiliary and Business Services John Papazoglou, the committee recommended Penn State reduce standard double room and board rates, coupled with a mid-level meal plan, by $863 this fall, bringing the total down to $5,013. If approved, this would be an 11.7% decrease from last fall’s rates and a 14.7% decrease from the board’s previously recommended plan in February.

The figures were calculated by converting February’s pre-pandemic rate into a daily rate, and then multiplying that daily rate by the number of days students would be on campus this fall. This is the same process the university used to calculate housing contract refunds this spring.

Of course, room and board rates would fluctuate for students depending on their housing preferences and meal plans. The committee’s proposed rate is merely a benchmark figure at this time.

Although both proposals were passed by the committee, the recommendations need to be approved by the full Board of Trustees on Friday, July 17 before they’re finalized.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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