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Penn State approves tuition hike

| Saturday, July 10, 2004

Penn State University approved a 6.6 percent hike in base tuition at University Park for state residents this fall -- the smallest increase in four years, but one that raises tuition beyond $10,000 a year.

"The real reason the increase is less this year is because it's the first year in several that we had an increase rather than a cut in state appropriation," Penn State spokesman Bill Mahon said.

The tuition increase was part of a $2.79 billion budget for 2004-05 approved Friday by the university's board of trustees. The budget included a state appropriation of $317.2 million -- about what the university received five years ago.

The action raised the base tuition to $10,408 a year at the main campus. That's the first time that Penn State's undergraduate tuition for state residents reached five figures, Mahon said.

Freshmen and sophomores at campuses in McKeesport, Beaver, New Kensington and Fayette pay $9,180 a year.

Gov. Ed Rendell sent a letter to the State System of Higher Education, the governing body for the 14 state-owned universities, urging it to ease its tuition hike. In response, the State System's board postponed a decision on tuition.

The governor did not write Penn State or the University of Pittsburgh because he has less influence over their boards, said ChuckArdo, a spokesman for Rendell.

"The governor is certainly concerned about the affordability of higher education and especially the pressure it puts on middle-class families," Ardo said.

Penn State raised tuition for out-of-state residents by 4.9 percent. The information technology fee will increase by $30 a year, and the student activity fee by $8 at University Park and $6 at other campuses.

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