With details for the fall semester in flux, major universities in the region are announcing plans for tuition freezes to ease the financial burden on families and entice students to enroll.
Pennsylvania State, Rutgers, and Delaware Valley Universities all said last week that they plan to keep tuition the same, in some cases awaiting board approval. Temple University made the same announcement Monday morning.
And the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which oversees 14 universities including West Chester and Cheyney, plans to discuss a possible tuition freeze at a board meeting Wednesday.
The initiative comes amid cuts to administrative pay, hiring freezes, and other cost-saving measures on campuses. Universities nationally are projecting revenue losses and enrollment dips as a result of the pandemic, and some students, in petitions and lawsuits, have called for tuition refunds this semester, citing inadequate online learning.
“We want to make it as affordable as possible,” said Mitchell Morgan, chairman of Temple’s board of trustees. “That’s been our mission forever. With a pandemic like we have right now, it’s even more important.”
He said he’s “cautiously optimistic” Temple will be able to have students on campus for a normal fall semester, but continues to plan for other possibilities. Temple intends to announce fall plans by the end of May.
This would be the second consecutive year of no tuition increase for Temple’s in-state students, who currently pay $16,080. The tuition freeze also would apply to out-of-state students, who pay $28,994. Temple’s trustees are scheduled to vote May 12. Based on conversation with other trustees, Morgan said he thinks it will pass.
Delaware Valley was the first in the area last week to announce a freeze on tuition and fees, now at $40,620 annually, to help families.
"At present, our deposits for new freshmen and registrations for returning undergraduate students are running on pace to achieve our fall revenue goals,” president Maria Gallo said. “We believe that the decision to freeze undergraduate tuition and fees will help us in this regard.”
Penn State’s tuition freeze, subject to approval by trustees, also applies to both in-state and out-of-state students. It would be the third consecutive year that tuition was frozen university-wide for Pennsylvania residents. At the main campus, tuition for full-time in-state freshmen and sophomores is $17,416 annually.
Rutgers president Robert L. Barchi said he would propose a freeze in tuition for in-state and out-of-state undergraduate students for 2020-21. In-state undergraduates in the school of arts and sciences pay $14,506, while out-of-state students pay $29,012.