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University Park Fee Board Releases New Budget Model Focused On Student Need

The student-run University Park Fee Board (UPFB) released a new budget plan aimed at addressing financial challenges, enhancing support services for students, and promoting long-term fiscal management of the Student Initiated Fee at University Park.

The UPFB oversees the budgeting and distribution of fee money at the University Park campus, funding programs, facilities, activities, and basic student needs and services to improve student life at Penn State.

The new student needs-based budget is aimed at funding projects that align with the values instilled in the UPFB and are beneficial to the diverse needs of the student community at Penn State. A crucial part of the new budget is the board’s mission to boost the welfare of the student community at University Park and support student services and programs that promote well-being and academic excellence.

UPFB’s new budget is built in the hopes of creating a supportive, enriching, and inclusive community at Penn State. These include:

  • Encouraging student involvement and programming, especially in programs and initiatives promoting leadership and professional development
  • Strengthening infrastructure and facilities by investing in improving campus spaces to boost the quality of student experiences
  • Improving recreation and entertainment by establishing student access to diverse, cultural, and recreational opportunities to create a sense of holistic well-being
  • Promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging through promoting initiatives that foster an inclusive and equitable culture on campus where diversity is recognized and celebrated
  • Becoming more sustainable at University Park by supporting environmental sustainability, on and beyond University Park, and fostering a culture of stewardship and long-term ecological responsibility
  • Securing basic needs for all students through the importance of creating a supportive environment for students and access to essential resources that will foster academic and personal success
  • Empowering student government and voices by providing much-needed resources and platforms to successfully represent and advocate for their peers

The new budget is centered around four key priorities: increasing student wages, addressing staffing needs, promoting the student experience, and transforming programming funds. To address staffing needs, the budget will address gaps to ensure the best resources for students. It will also prioritize developing and improving student-focused faculties and structuring funds in a new way to collaborate between organizations.

Annually, the UPFB oversees over $30 million of Student Initiated Fee funds. It currently holds reserves of over $50 million, and the new budget model will work toward addressing any gaps in fee income and allocation to ensure long-term fiscal sustainability.

As a result, the UPFB will move to a two-year budget cycle in order to align with Penn State, implement budget reductions to create a more balance spending approach, and promote transparency within the community. It will also work toward implementing fee increases while using reserve funds to result in a smooth transition.

The new student needs-based budget will be considered during deliberations for the fiscal year 2026 fee requests. Requests for new fee funding, standing fee appropriations, and facility support can be located on the Student Fee Board website. The deadline for submissions is March 8.

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About the Author

Maya Thiruselvam

Maya is a junior majoring in English from Deleware County, PA, and a writer for Onward State. She is a huge Phillies fan and thinks Citizens Bank Park should bring back Dollar Dog Night. When she's not talking to the Willard preacher you can find her rewatching episodes of Ted Lasso or The Office. To reach her, follow her on Instagram or Twitter: @maya_thiruselvam, or email her at [email protected].

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