Penn College Board Approves Budget, Tuition/Fees for 2007-08

Published 06.21.2007


Pennsylvania College of Technology's Board of Directors on Thursday approved an operating budget of $87,401,677, anticipating no increase in the college's state appropriation and raising tuition 5.98 percent for in-state students.

The governor's proposed budget includes a $12,659,000 appropriation for Penn College, the same amount as 2006-07 and less than 15 percent of its operating costs. The college's approved operating budget represents a 6.68-percent increase from 2006-07.

President Davie Jane Gilmour said rising costs, including fuel, utilities and health care, make it impossible to operate without increased revenue in the coming year. Without any additional dollars from the state, tuition and fees must be raised to meet operating needs.

"We are very concerned about the impact of rising costs on our students and our families," the president said. "While there is no question that the Pennsylvania economy can be strengthened by increasing the quality of its workforce, many taxpayers and lawmakers seem unwilling to recognize that public funds must play a greater role in providing accessibility to higher education. We must provide opportunities for more of our citizens to attain a college degree − especially in high-demand, high-technology industries."

A full-time, in-state student taking an average of 15 credits per semester will pay approximately $11,250 in tuition and fees in 2007-08; this is an increase of $630 over the previous year's costs. Annual costs for students are based upon per-credit-hour fees; the number of credits for which a student registers determines the actual cost. This year, per-credit-hour tuition and fees increased $21, to a total of $375 per credit hour.

Tuition and fees for out-of-state students, who pay 1.3 times the in-state rate, will increase by $26 per credit hour (to $471 per credit hour). Tuition and fees for a nonresident carrying a typical 15-credit load over two semesters will be $14,130 in 2007-08.

In addition to tuition, which accounts for $18 of the $21 per-credit-hour increase, fee increases include: capital fee, $2 (to $36 per credit hour); and the technology fee, $1 (to $15 per credit hour). There will be no increase in the activity fee, which is $5 per credit hour.

The laboratory instruction fee will increase $2 to $28 per lab hour.

The president said the fee increases are necessary to maintain the quality facilities and equipment necessary to provide hands-on, applied technology education.

"Businesses and industries expect that our graduates will be productive employees because they have gained experience using the most current equipment," Gilmour said. "It becomes a greater challenge for us each year to maintain the equipment and facilities needed in a world where technology advances are constant and expensive. But, we believe that keeping pace with the world of work is what makes a Penn College education valuable to students, employers and our state's economy."

As a special-mission affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University, Penn College makes its appropriation request to state government. Whatever amount is approved by the Legislature and the governor is appropriated to the college through a line item in Penn State's budget. As a separate corporate entity, Penn College receives no direct funding from Penn State. The college establishes its own rates for tuition and fees, which constitute the bulk of its revenues.

"We are concerned that stagnant and declining state appropriations will have negative, long-term effects on our economy," Gilmour stressed. "More students and families must incur significant debt just to receive the education and training that is necessary to secure good jobs and become the taxpayers of tomorrow. We must invest if we want our economy to grow."

Nearly three quarters of all Penn College students receive financial aid to assist with their education costs. In 2005-06 (the last year for which official figures are available), Penn College students received aid totaling $66.5 million from a variety of federal, state and local sources.

The 2007-08 budget projects a slight increase (1.63 percent) in enrollment in the coming year. It also projects additional employment opportunities, including 61/2 new faculty positions, five new professional positions and one new classified position. The budget calls for a 4.5-percent salary increase for eligible employees.

The college's auxiliary fund budgets for 2007-08 total $20,074,500: Housing, $6,702,986; College Store, $5,391,719; Food Services, $4,506,885; Industrial Modernization Center, $1,398,178; Student Activities, $1,254,795; Workforce Development & Continuing Education, $498,007; and the Children's Learning Center, $321,930.

Other unrestricted current fund budgets total $652,667: parking permit fund, $370,000; gifts and donations, $200,000; scholarships, $77,667; and use of college resources, $5,000.

The restricted current fund budget for grants, contracts and restricted donations for which outside parties, such as governmental agencies, direct the use of the money, totals $25,514,569.

The plant fund budget for physical facilities totals $2,372,232, including the $192,600 renewal and replacement fund and the $2,179,632 debt service fund, which is money received and expended for the college's bond obligations.

Overall, the college is budgeting $108,128,844 for operating costs, auxiliary operations and other unrestricted funds−a 6.55-percent increase over the previous year.