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Pennsylvania State System universities adopt $224 tuition increase

Deb Erdley
| Thursday, July 12, 2018, 2:00 p.m.
California University of Pennsylvania has started a degree completion program intended to help former students complete their degrees.
Evan Sanders | Trib Total Media
California University of Pennsylvania has started a degree completion program intended to help former students complete their degrees.

In-state students at Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities will see tuition increase $224 a year this fall.

The Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which includes California, Clarion, Edinboro, Indiana and Slipper Rock universities in Western Pennsylvania, on Thursday raised base tuition to $7,716 a year. The figure does not include room and board and fees, all of which vary by institution.

Officials said the increase, which totals less than 3 percent, was the second smallest in a decade. Last year, officials increased tuition by $254 a year.

State-system schools, which enrolled approximately 102,000 students statewide last year, are charged with offering Pennsylvania’s lowest-cost option in higher education. About nine out of 10 students enrolled at the 14 system universities are state residents, according to PASSHE figures.

Cynthia D. Shapira, board president, said the state system pared this year’s increase using a $15 million bump in state subsidies, which brought total state support to $468 million for the coming year.

Despite the boost in state support and increase tuition, officials said they still must cut an additional $20 million to balance the 2018-19 budget.

“Because we are a single system, we are able to generate significant savings through sharing and combining services,” said Interim Chancellor Karen M. Whitney. “We will continue to look for additional ways to maximize these kinds of cost-saving opportunities as part of our system redesign.”.

PASSHE officials are working on changes to ensure its universities remain competitive.

“I continue to be impressed with how our universities are able to offer an excellent higher education experience at a cost that is so much lower than other universities,” Shapira said. “Providing high-quality, high-value education is our mission. Ensuring student success is our top priority, and we are also committed to the success of each of our institutions. Today’s action underscores our commitment to all of that.”

Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 412-320-7996, or via Twitter @deberdley_trib.

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