Pennsylvania State University plans to ask the state for a 5.1 percent or $14.7 million funding increase for 2014-15, officials said at a trustees meeting on Thursday.
If the last two years are any indication, the plan may be a bit ambitious. The state froze funding for Penn State and Pennsylvania’s other three state-related universities the last two years. Penn State received about $285 million from the state this year.
The ask - if it goes unanswered - could spell trouble for students.
Even if Penn State’s request is approved, it will mean a 3.49 percent tuition increase for in-state students on the main campus and 2.4 percent for students at the branch campuses. The overall average increase would be 2.85 percent.
There was no comment on what would happen to tuition without the funding boost.
The forecasted tuition hikes would be slightly higher than the increases approved for the current academic year - with no increase in state funding.
Penn State officials said the funding boost is necessary to support increasing costs, including an estimated 2.5 percent rise in base salaries and benefits and a 1 percent increase in merit pay.
In-state students at the main campus this year are paying $26,362 in tuition, fees and room and board. That includes a 3.39 percent tuition increase and a 4.2 percent increase in room and board.
Also at Thursday’s meeting of the finance committee, the board announced plans for a $2.7 billion, five-year capital plan to upgrade classrooms, academic buildings, residence halls, technology, equipment and other needs at the university’s main campus and branch campuses. No new buildings are included in the plan, a spokeswoman said.
About two-thirds of the buildings at Penn State’s main campus are more than 25 years old and have had no significant upgrades, the school said.
The university also announced that its endowment rose $174 million over the last year, finishing at $2.03 billion as of June 30.
I will be covering more committee meetings later this afternoon. The full board meets on Friday to take action on items presented today. Also seeking comment from the state on Penn State's funding ask.