PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – After first agreeing to freeze tuition in exchange for more money from the state, the board of 14 state-owned universities reversed itself, raising tuition 3.5 percent for the coming year.
In many ways, students and their parents are the first victims of the failure of the Republican legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf to reach an agreement on a budget that would increase education funding.
“Parents would probably say, that’s really not a fair thing because we’ve now made plans, we’re sending our child to a university, and we were banking on a certain tuition per year,” noted Connie Pollack with Pollack Educational Consulting.
Instead of a base tuition of $6,680, the new rate will be $7,060 a year, a 3.5 percent increase, higher than current inflation and higher than average cost-of-living increases.
The local schools affected include California, Clarion, Edinboro, Indiana, and Slippery Rock.
The University of Pittsburgh and Penn State have not yet announced expected tuition boosts.
The increase is pretty typical these days.
“We just looked this morning at some Ivy League schools and there at about 4 percent over the last two years, so it’s pretty much in line,” said education consultant Mike Giffin with Ensphere College Planning Services.
Giffin says Pennsylvania’s state-owned schools are reasonably priced, but not the cheapest.
“If you look at North Carolina, South Carolina, some of those are maybe 25 to 35 percent less for in-state students,” Giffin told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Friday.
What makes the difference?
The commitment of legislators and governors.
“It seems to be every year the battle of what goes on in Harrisburg and who’s paying the bills,” said Giffin.