UNIVERSITY PARK – Legislation providing about $279 million in appropriation funds to Penn State for the 2011-12 budget year today (June 30) made its way through the Legislature and now awaits the signature of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett. The funding represents a reduction of $68 million compared to the previous year.
“We are very pleased to have a state budget and Penn State appropriation completed on time. It has been almost a decade since that last occurred in Pennsylvania,” said Penn State President Graham B. Spanier. “I want to thank the many legislators who supported moderating the size of the cut originally proposed for Penn State. The original $182 million proposed cut would have had a devastating impact on our students and our employees.”
Although much of the funding has been restored from earlier proposals, this appropriation still represents a 19.6 percent cut from last year’s appropriation, and is equivalent to the amount received by Penn State in 1995, when the University’s enrollment was 19,000 fewer students than it is today.
The overall decrease is comprised of a 19 percent reduction in the University’s educational budget appropriation; a 19 percent reduction for agricultural research and Cooperative Extension; a 5 percent reduction for Penn College; and, a 50 percent reduction in support provided to the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.
“We’ve said from the beginning that we recognize the state has a budget challenge, perhaps its greatest ever. We also have committed that we would do our fair share and participate in those cuts needed to help stabilize Pennsylvania’s economy,” Spanier said.
To prepare for the lower appropriation, the University has been implementing both across-the-board and targeted cuts through the efforts of the Core Council and elsewhere, seeking efficiencies without harming the quality of a Penn State education. Over the past three months, those cuts and internal savings have totaled nearly $30 million.
“Other savings are being generated by changes to our health care benefits system,” Spanier said. “We have implemented a program of significant energy savings, cut funding for our capital improvement program, identified savings for our property and liability insurance and cut back on funds aimed at new programs. The elimination of our normal salary increase this summer also generated significant savings,” Spanier said.
Spanier said the University remains committed to keeping the tuition increase at a modest level, so students and their families are not asked to bear the brunt of the reduced appropriation. “We expect to have a tuition increase that is what you might see in a normal year, not a substantial increase of the sort that you’re going to see at other universities around the country,” he said.
The University’s Board of Trustees will set budget and tuition for 2011-12 at its meeting Friday, July 15, at the Penn State Lehigh Valley campus.
Lisa Powers, Penn State University