Penn State asks for historic boost in state funding

Penn State will push for a 47.5% increase in general support funding from the state after receiving approval from its Board of Trustees on Friday.

If legislators greenlight the historic request in the 2023-24 state budget, the university would receive $357 million during the next academic year. That’s $115 million more than Penn State received in 2022-23.

Penn State and three other state-related universities — the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University and Lincoln University — use general support appropriations to provide tuition discounts for in-state students.

Penn State officials argue that Happy Valley funding is not on par with other state-related universities’ funding relative to enrollment numbers. Penn State receives less state dollars per student than Pitt, Temple and Lincoln.

“As Pennsylvania’s only land-grant university, we feel strongly that Penn State students and their families deserve as much funding per student as the other state-related universities in Pennsylvania,” said Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi in a news release.

All but one board member voted to approve the request during Friday’s board meeting.

The request is now in the hands of legislators, who must flesh out the 2023-24 state budget by the end of June 2023. During the last budget cycle, some legislators questioned their support for the state-related general support funding.

The university’s general support funding has remained stagnant for three consecutive years. Gov. Tom Wolf unsuccessfully proposed a 5% increase in state funding to the state-related universities in the 2022-23 budget, but later quietly moved $40 million in coronavirus relief funds to these schools.

Penn State spokesperson Wyatt DuBois said the university is currently reviewing federal guidelines to determine how it will use its share of the funds. Pitt announced it would use the money to provide $350 grants to its in-staters.

In recent months, Penn State has raised the alarm about its $160 million deficit, despite its billion-dollar endowment. Penn State has attributed money problems to stagnant state funding, inflation rates, self-implemented tuition freezes, and enrollment and revenue pressures.

To combat the deficit, the university increased 2022-23 tuition by 5% for in-state University Park undergraduates and by 2% for their commonwealth campus counterparts. A university-wide hiring freeze is also in effect until at least summer 2023.

Maddie Aiken is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Maddie by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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