The board governing Pennsylvania's 14 state universities approved a $198 or three percent tuition increase for 2014-15 at a meeting on Tuesday.
Full-time in-state students will pay a base tuition rate of $6,820 a year, up from $6,622 last year, under the plan approved by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education's board of governors.
Overall, tuition, fees and room and board for an in-state student will run $18,500 for 2014-15, up from about $18,000 this year. The vast majority of students live in Pennsylvania.
The tuition increase comes as the board of governors looks to close a $58 million budget hole in its $1.56 billion budget. The university system had asked the state for a four percent increase in its basic aid and $18 million for new program development, but the state budget holds flat funding for most higher education institutions. The system will get the same $412.7 million that it has received since 2011-12 – that's $90 million less than it received in 2010-11.
In addition to the tuition increase, universities will have to find a combined $30 million in cuts to balance the system's budget, the board announced. It will be up to the universities to decide where to cut.
State system spokesman Kenn Marshall said presidents have indicated they will look at staff reductions and fewer sections of courses, as well as putting equipment purchases and maintenance.
"It's going to be different from one university to the next," he said. "I'm sure some of the decisions will be very difficult."
The board also extended the contracts of 10 of its presidents, including West Chester President Greg R. Weisenstein, through June 30, 2017. Cheyney University last Thursday abruptly announced the retirement of its president, Michelle Howard-Vital, who had led the school for seven years. Her successor represented Cheyney at Tuesday's meeting.
The 14 state system schools are: Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester.