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Penn State President Pledges Accountability, Urges Lawmakers to Approve 2023-24 Funding

By Pennsylvania State University President Neeli Bendapudi:

In early July, a vote to fund the public missions of Penn State and our fellow state-related universities ended in a stalemate, falling six votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed to pass the Pennsylvania House. Nearly three months later, this funding for our Pennsylvania students remains unresolved, despite the state’s main budget bill — which is separate from Penn State’s funding bill — reaching the governor’s desk in August.

I cannot overstate the importance of state funding to Penn State, our students, and our mission to serve the citizens of Pennsylvania. I am urging lawmakers to return to Penn State’s appropriation and vote to approve funding for our university and ultimately our students. I have heard the call from some lawmakers who want additional accountability and transparency from state-related universities, and I am proposing a path forward.

At Penn State, general support from the state is used exclusively to support in-state tuition for Pennsylvania students and families, which last year saved our 42,000 Pennsylvania resident undergraduates an average of $15,000 each on tuition costs compared to their out-of-state peers. This discount is especially important at our 19 undergraduate Commonwealth Campuses, where 78% of our students are Pennsylvania residents.

In the absence of these critical funds, Penn State has temporarily redirected dollars from other sources — including delaying employee salary increases — to support the in-state tuition rate for the fall semester and maintain our commitment to our Pennsylvania students and their families. However, with student tuition and state dollars comprising the primary funding sources for our education budget, we cannot afford to subsidize in-state tuition for our Pennsylvania students indefinitely. It is crucial for Pennsylvania students that our lawmakers act now, with the promise of additional statewide action on accountability to come.

Read the rest of the article in PennLive.