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State universities hold tuition increase to 3% inflation rate

| Monday, July 9, 2012, 2:36 p.m.

The Board of Governors of the State System of Higher Education kept its commitment to hold tuition rates at the rate of inflation.

The board approved tuition at $6,428 a year, a 3 percent increase, during a special meeting on Monday.

The board last month committed to hold the tuition increase within the rate of inflation, provided the state allocates the same amount of funding as last year.

State system universities will receive $420 million for the next school year.

The $94-per-semester increase ensures that universities in the system are still the lowest-cost option in the state, according to a news release.

“PASSHE universities will continue to offer high-quality education at the most affordable cost possible,” said Guido Pichini, chairman of the board of governors.

For the fifth time in eight years, the increase has been either at or below the rate of inflation, according to the news release.

The tuition technology fee will increase by $10, to $358, for the full academic year for full-time resident students and by $16 to $542, for full-time nonresident students.

Graduate tuition will increase $13, to $429 per credit for resident students, and by $20, to $644, for nonresident students.

After funding for higher education was slashed by nearly 20 percent a year ago, the state system increased tuition by 7.5 percent.

Gov. Tom Corbett had proposed even deeper cuts this year but agreed to maintain flat funding after leaders of the state-owned universities and the state-supported universities – Penn State, Pittsburgh, Temple and Lincoln – promised lawmakers they would hold any 2012-13 tuition increases to less than the inflation rate.

The state system comprises the universities at Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester.

The universities have taken steps to control costs and generate more than $220 million in savings during the past 10 years, according to the board. Those steps include joint purchasing of goods and services and installation of energy efficient systems. The board noted that a retirement incentive program is saving more than $10 million annually.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania has been planning for a variety of budget scenarios as they awaited the tuition rate approval, said Michelle Fryling,

Public information departments at Edinboro and Slippery Rock universities directed comments to Kenn Marshall, state system spokesman.On California University's website, Acting President Geraldine Jones posted a link to a state system news release regarding the tuition, but did not comment on the increase.

Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6220 or adolasinski@tribweb.com.

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