Indiana, PA - Indiana County

State universities to see tuition hike

by The Indiana Gazette on July 10, 2013 10:55 AM

Tuition at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the 13 other state-owned universities is going up this fall.

During a meeting Tuesday in Harrisburg, the State System of Higher Education’s governing body approved a 3 percent increase, which works out to $194 more per year, or $97 per semester.

With the increase, tuition for full-time Pennsylvania residents will stand at $6,622 annually. Most of the system’s students are Pennsylvania residents and most attend full time.

The figure does not include the several fees that are included in the tuition bills.

At IUP, most of the mandatory fees, the fees that all students must pay, were increased this spring. And with those factored in, it will cost IUP students at least $9,059.60 per year — 4.5 percent more — to attend the university. And that excludes room and board, both of which also increased this spring.

The least expensive room and board options will add another $7,374 to the cost per year.

While costs at the state system schools are rising, government funding remains stagnant.

This fiscal year, the state system is to receive close to $413 million in aid, the same amount as last year. Officials say that covers about one-quarter of the institutions’ operating costs.

As a result, IUP had been looking at a $5.8 million budget deficit, which officials projected assuming a 3 percent tuition increase.

IUP President Michael Driscoll said the university was able to work around the deficit through a mix of fee increases and cuts.

More specifically, the university wound up raising a per-credit surcharge known as the student services fee by $3, taking it to $12 per credit for undergraduate students and $9 per credit for graduate students.

That move, along with some central budget reductions, cut the deficit by $1.8 million. The rest of it was covered by cuts spread among the university’s departments. Driscoll said there were no furloughs.

A new labor contract with the faculty had provided for an early retirement program, and 20 have taken advantage of it, according to the university. But any savings from the program won’t be realized until following fiscal years, Driscoll said.

He added that given past budget cutting, it was challenging for the university to find expenses to trim. He said that IUP is continuing to work on longer-range planning that will reduce costs or increase revenue.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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