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Board Of Trustees Officially Raises Tuition For 2022-23 Year

Penn State’s Board of Trustees voted Friday afternoon to raise tuition for the 2022-23 academic year. No in-state or out-of-state undergraduate students with household incomes of $75,000 or less will see a tuition increase.

Trustees voted 26-6 to raise students’ tuition rates for the second consecutive year. Last summer, trustees voted to raise tuition rates for the 2021-22 academic year by at least 2.5% for undergraduates regardless of household income.

Increased tuition was coupled with a 2.5% salary increase for most Penn State employees.

According to Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi, the $75,000 distinction was chosen based on the national and Pennsylvania median incomes of $67,521 and $63,627, respectively.

Penn State budgeted $14 million to offset the tuition increase for eligible students. All students will see the higher tuition rate on their semester bill, but eligible students will see an “Access Grant” award on their monthly billing and 2022-23 financial aid award summary in LionPath that will offset the increase.

In-state undergrads who attend Penn State’s University Park and Commonwealth campuses will see a tuition increase of 5% and 2%, respectively.

Out-of-state undergrads at University Park will see a 6% increase, and Commonwealth campus undergrads will see a 3% increase.

A breakdown of the 2022-23 tuition rates is available below.

The university noted that only students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form for the upcoming academic year would be eligible to access Penn State’s budget for financial relief. In Penn State’s release, students were “strongly encouraged” to fill out this year’s form.

Penn State cited inflation, COVID-19-related revenue and enrollment struggles, and the university’s third consecutive year of stagnant funding as reasons for the tuition increases.

Six trustees — Brown, Levie, Fenchak, Lubrano, Paterno, and Pope — voted “no” for the increase. Trustees Dunn and Hagarty abstained from voting.

Trustee Barry Fenchak was most vocal about his dissatisfaction with the increase. He believes the tuition and salary increases should have been two separate items.

“We were surprised a bit by the state’s flat funding,” Fenchak said. “It came to us at the last minute, sort of threw things into a tizzy. Unfortunately, I think the knee-jerk reaction was, ‘Okay we have to raise tuition.’ And I think perhaps the knee-jerk reaction should have been, ‘We need to get to work on the things that we should’ve been doing for the last 10 years and light a little bit of a fire underneath our behinds to get a little bit more aggressive with cost control and being more efficient.'”

Trustee Brandon Short cited inflation, balancing the university’s budget, and compromise as his reasons for supporting the increase.

“Access and affordability is a priority for me and for this body,” Short said. “There’s a lot of spirited discussion that goes on in executive session before we come to the extremely difficult decision to raise tuition on our students. We are in a hyperinflationary environment. The largest inflation that we’ve seen in 40 years — 9% inflation.”

“No one wants to raise tuition, but we had to compromise,” he continued. “We compromised with a much lower tuition increase for our students on our Commonwealth campuses and a zero tuition increase for students whose families make under $75,000 a year.”

“I understand that people are struggling to meet ends meet,” Short said. “Everything from a gallon of gas to a quart of milk is really expensive, and I feel their pain. We all feel it. But if we continue to cut, it will have a negative effect on the quality of a Penn State education.”

“This is anything but a knee-jerk reaction,” Trustee David Kleppinger said. “This was a lot of hard work by Dr. Thorndike and her staff that went into this. A lot of thought and consideration went into this final recommendation. The analysis was detailed. As Brandon said, this is not anything we’re excited about doing, but it’s something that’s necessary, and I want to make sure the record’s clear that this is not a knee-jerk reaction whatsoever to the state appropriation flat funding.”

Trustee Nicholas Rowland commented on the salary increase coming off of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It has been a long two and a half years,” Rowland said. “The work that was done is probably the greatest lift in higher education for the past half-century. I personally think we have a moral obligation to reward that.”

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About the Author

Colleen Nersten

Colleen is a senior biology major from York, Pa and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She overuses the ~tilde~ and aspires to be no other than the great Guy Fieri. You can find Colleen filling up her gas tank at Rutter’s, the ~superior~ Pennsylvania gas station. Please direct any questions or concerns to [email protected] For the hijinks, always.

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