Pennsylvania State System universities freeze tuition, Pitt hikes rate |

Pennsylvania State System universities freeze tuition, Pitt hikes rate

Deb Erdley

For the first time in 20 years, and the second time ever, tuition will not rise this year at the 14 state-owned universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

Basic tuition for in-state undergraduate students will remain $7,716 for the 2019-20 school year. That comes after a unanimous vote Wednesday by the system’s Board of Governors.

The last time tuition at state-owned schools remained the same was in 1998.

The system was established 36 years ago. It comprises 14 universities, including Slippery Rock, California University of Pennsylvania, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Edinboro University.

Almost 100,000 students attend state system universities.

“These universities exist so that Pennsylvanians across all income levels can access quality higher education, and by holding the line on tuition, we are living up to that mission,” board Chair Cindy Shapira said in a statement.

Pitt cost rises at least 2%

Pitt students aren’t so lucky.

Most Pennsylvania residents will pay 2% more for tuition this fall at Pitt’s four regional campuses and 2.75% more at its main campus in Oakland.

The tuition increases that Pitt trustees adopted Wednesday translate into an additional $498 a year, or a total of $18,628 for the lowest base undergraduate tuition at Pitt’s Oakland campus.

The lowest base tuition at the Greensburg, Johnstown and Bradford campuses will increase from $12,940 a year to $13,198, while base tuition at the Titusville campus will go from $10,958 to $11,176.

Despite the tuition increases, some Pitt students may see a lower bill due to an increasing commitment to financial aid.

This year’s Pitt budget calls for estimated $130 million investment in supporting students with financial need, including Pell Grant recipients, who will receive Pitt’s Pell Match Grant, an award that matches students’ federal Pell Grants support dollar for dollar to enhance affordability.

Meanwhile, Temple University will hold tuition flat in the coming school year.

A Temple University spokesman said trustees for the state-related school in Philadelphia voted on the freeze earlier this week. That means base tuition for residents will remain $16,080 for the second consecutive year.

The move, the second tuition freeze at Temple in the last eight years, follows the enactment of a state budget that increased subsidies to Temple by 2%.

Pitt and PASSHE also saw slight increases in state support — a 2.3% hike at Pitt and 2% to the State System.

Penn State to announce tuition next week

Trustees at Penn State are slated to meet to set tuition on July 18. The state-related university received a 3.4% increase in state support.

In-state tuition at Pitt and Penn State typically ranks among the highest at the nation’s state flagship schools.

Officials at Temple said affordability and rising student debt, which now totals more than $1.5 trillion nationally, were major considerations in the decision to freeze tuition there.

Temple President Richard M. Englert said the increase in the state’s subsidy for the university also was a factor in Temple’s decision.

Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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