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Education

Penn State trustees raise tuition for coming year

| Friday, July 21, 2017, 11:36 p.m.
Newly elected member Joseph 'Jay' V. Paterno, left, listens to a speaker during a Penn State University Board of Trustees meeting on the campus of Penn State Harrisburg in Middletown, Pa., Friday, July 21, 2017.
Newly elected member Joseph 'Jay' V. Paterno, left, listens to a speaker during a Penn State University Board of Trustees meeting on the campus of Penn State Harrisburg in Middletown, Pa., Friday, July 21, 2017.

Penn State tuition got a little more expensive Friday.

As predicted at Thursday's committee meeting, in-state students will see an average 2.45 percent increase in tuition for the coming school year.

The trustees approved the 2017-18 budget and tuition. The budget of more than $5 billion, with a $2.058 billion general fund, was approved unanimously.

Tuition was not.

Jay Paterno cast his first “no” vote at his first meeting as a trustee as he joined Anthony Lubrano, Ted Brown, Alice Pope, Rob Tribeck and Elliot Weinstein in voting against the plan that would bump tuition up by 2.74 percent at University Park, keep it flat at eight other campuses - Butler, DuBois, Fayette, Greater Alleghenies, Mont Alto, New Kensington, Wilkes-Barre and Shenango - and up it by 2.35 to 2.49 percent at remaining campuses. The increase means a maximum of $232 more in tuition for Pennsylvania residents.

Non-residents' tuition would go up by 3.85 percent, or about $605.

The opposing trustees expressed frustration with the move. The board met at the Harrisburg campus, just miles from the capital, as the state is once again arguing over its own budget and not fulfilling the increases promised by Gov. Tom Wolf in 2015.

“We are the biggest economic driver in the state,” Tribeck said. “The best dollar the state can invest is in this university.”

He encouraged the university to mobilize the force of alumni to express the importance of the university. In committee Thursday, trustee and Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding pushed to make those voices heard.

“You've got to make a case where this is on the list of things. There are a lot of worthy causes. You have a story of economic impact and education. Tell that story. The story of the alumni, however they tell it, it's the story of their investment. I think the story piece is always worth telling. That's worth funding,” Redding said.

Tribeck also encouraged the board and administration to find new ways of finding support and funding if the state's appropriation would continue to fall short of needs.

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