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Pitt approves budget, tuition freeze for some students

Jamie Martines
| Monday, July 16, 2018, 2:42 p.m.
Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh
Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh

Many undergraduate students at University of Pittsburgh campuses — including Pitt-Greensburg — will not see a tuition increase for the 2018-19 school year.

An increase in state funding allowed Pitt to freeze undergraduate tuition rates for most in-state students across all five campuses, the university announced Monday.

But not all students are as lucky. Out-of-state undergraduates at the Pittsburgh campus will see tuition levels rise 4.75 percent.

Due to “increasing program demands and costs,” engineering students at the Pittsburgh and Johnstown campuses, regardless of residency, also will see tuition increase, according to Pitt.

Room and board fees at the Oakland campus in Pittsburgh campus will not change, school officials said.

Pitt often ranks among the highest-priced public universities in the nation. The lowest undergraduate in-state tuition at the university’s Oakland campus was $18,130 during the 2017-18 school year.

The lowest out-of-state tuition at the Pittsburgh campus is $29,692.

Yearly tuition for in-state students at Pitt-Greensburg during the 2017-18 school year was $12,940. Out-of-state students paid $24,184.

“I am grateful that Gov. Wolf and the General Assembly have strengthened their investment in the partnership between the University of Pittsburgh and the commonwealth,” Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said in a statement. “I am sure that finding these precious state resources was not an easy task, and our entire university community is grateful for their strong support, which allowed us to leave in-state tuition at last year’s level for almost all of our undergraduate students.”

Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods, has been urging state and state-related universities like Pitt to freeze tuition since about $600 million in state funds were appropriated to the higher education institutions in October. On Monday, he praised Pitt for the move.

“The University of Pittsburgh took a stand toward ensuring college remains affordable for Pennsylvania students by freezing its tuition and room and board rates for Pennsylvania students,” Turzai said in a statement. “When legislators voted to increase funding for the state-related schools, including Pitt, by 3 percent, the hope was that its governing board would freeze the rate for in-state students.”

Sharon P. Smith, president at Pitt-Greensburg, expressed gratitude to lawmakers for “strengthening their investment in our university.”

“We are investing in our students and through them we are helping to advance the future of our region,” Smith said.

Executive and Budget Committees of Pitt’s Board of Trustees on Monday also approved capital and operating budgets for the 2018-19 academic year.

The capital budget totals $339.5 million, up from $251.7 million the previous year. It will support renovations to the Hillman Library, Salk Hall, Petersen Sports Complex and the Immune Transplant and Therapy Center, as well as energy-saving projects.

The $2.3 billion operating budget—up from $2.2 billion—includes a research base of $819 million and salary increases for university employees, according Pitt.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-850-2867, jmartines@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

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