Pennsylvania universities reject GOP call for tuition freeze

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Four Pennsylvania universities said Wednesday they would follow through with tuition increases despite calls from House Republicans to reverse the price increases.

Lawmakers including Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, the GOP gubernatorial nominee, argue that Penn State, the University of Pittsburgh, Lincoln and Temple are getting federal funds and don’t need to raise tuition.

Universities did not receive a funding increase in the state budget this year. Instead, through one-time federal funds, universities will share about $30 million in addition to budget funding.

“From a long-term planning perspective, it wouldn’t be prudent for us to use it as part of our recurring operations,” said Steve Orbanek, spokesman for Temple University.

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Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi said the funds would go toward student success.

“This injection of one-time funds, however, will not eliminate the larger financial pressures facing the institution,” she said.

Mastriano and House Republican leaders have sent letters to universities in recent days.

“In at least two instances, lump sum state funding appropriations over the past year have been cited as a cause of rising tuition fees,” the House Republican leadership said in a statement Wednesday. communicated. “Given recent news regarding the receipt of additional funding for the 2022-23 academic year, it would be prudent to reverse these decisions for all students, but at a minimum, Pennsylvania residents attending your institutions.”

A spokesperson for Pitt said their share will go toward student financial aid and outreach.

Lincoln University President Brenda Allen said in a statement that the increase only applies to new students. Lincoln declined to comment on how it will allocate the additional funds.

At Penn State, in-state undergraduates will see their tuition increase by 5% at the University Park campus and 2% at Commonwealth campuses. Non-residents will see a 6% tuition increase at University Park and a 3% increase at Commonwealth campuses. A 5% increase will be instituted for Penn State World Campus undergraduates.

Most in-state students paying full tuition on the Pitt campus will see their tuition rate increase by 3.5%. Tuition fees at regional campuses will increase by 2%.

Temple students will see a 3.9% increase in 2022-2023 undergraduate and graduate base tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

Lincoln’s tuition will increase by less than 1% for the incoming class, according to figures on its website. A university spokesperson did not immediately confirm the increased amount.

The four schools, officially called “state-related universities”, are not owned by the state, but receive government grants. Together, they received $597 million from the state government in this year’s budget.

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Tuition increases are just the latest dispute between universities and state lawmakers. In June, House Republicans doubled down on their refusal to send funds to Pitt for his use of fetal tissue from elective abortions by endorsing an amendment to the supply bill.

The dispute finished quietly in the Legislature when GOP lawmakers waived a requirement that a university financial officer submit an affidavit attesting that their school is not using the fabric to obtain state funding.

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