PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh are tops in the country in the amount that students pay for “in-state” tuition.
But, at the same time, Pennsylvania ranks 46th in the nation for the amount of money it provides for public higher education.
Whether you’re a parent paying the freight or a student taking loans to pay tuition, the University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees has voted to raise in-state tuition another 8.5 percent starting next fall. It’s one of the largest hikes ever.
Currently, in-state student tuition at Pitt is $14,076. The hike will bring that to $15,272 for the new academic year, a nearly $1,100 increase.
Prospective students and their parents got word as they were touring the main campus.
Marci Mondock and son Cameron were in from Lancaster.
“It’s very difficult – things are very tough right now – and it’s hitting education terribly in the state of Pennsylvania,” she said.
Tuition costs may also drive students away says Law School student Michael Kramer.
“With the job market the way it is, it’s a much smarter investment to go to other places where you can get a degree for far less,” Kramer said.
But Molly Stieber, Pitt’s student government president and a senior, believes that the administration did all it could.
“I worry that other in-state students like myself won’t have the opportunity – if we continue to get cut in state appropriations,” she said.
Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg says the trustees had little choice – Pitt has had its Commonwealth appropriation cut six-times in the past decade.
There’s a 19 percent reduction in state funding to the university’s education and general appropriation, and a whopping 50 percent cut to the medical, dental and public health schools as well as to Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, amounting to 40 million fewer dollars in the school’s $1.94-billion budget.
Following the Trustee’s vote, the Chancellor said: “To add this increase, though we did as much as we could to control it, does impose another real burden on our students and the families who support them.”
Other cost cutting measures at the university, which will cover 60 percent of the operating budget gap still have to be identified.
“It’s never good to see a tuition increase in that range but at the end of the day, in my opinion, they had no choice,” State Sen. Jay Costa, a Pitt trustee, said.
Penn State now costs $14,412 for in-state tuition. Their Board of Trustees holds their meeting next Friday and tuition is on the agenda.