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The Pa. General Assembly wants you to know where your in-state tuition discount comes from

Penn State students walking to class in front of the library.
Min Xian
Penn State students and others cross the University Park campus on a busy day in the file photo from fall 2021.

Tuition bills for Pennsylvanians who go to Penn State or one of the other state-related universities will come with a new footnote this coming year. Under the state's fiscal code, those schools have to tell the students they’re getting a discount — thanks to the state.

“If you are a P-A resident student and therefore get an in-state rate, as opposed to an out-of-state rate, the tuition bill must note that that’s due in large part to an appropriation from the General Assembly," said Zack Moore, Penn State’s vice president for government and community relations, during the July board of trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning meeting.

A Penn State student’s tuition bill varies depending on where they’re from. In the upcoming school year, an in-state undergraduate at University Park, for example, will pay about $19,000 in tuition and fees. An out-of-state student will pay about twice as much.

The new requirement was included in the fiscal code, which was passed by the General Assembly and approved by Governor Tom Wolf in July.

"Every tuition invoice that includes a discount due to money appropriated under the State-related University Nonpreferred Appropriation Act of 2022 shall specify that the funding for the discount comes from money appropriated by the General Assembly," a small section of the fiscal code reads.

Pennsylvania has four state-related universities: Penn State, the University of Pittsburgh, Lincoln University and Temple University.

Penn State is receiving $242.1 million in general funding from the state for 2022-23, which is the same amount it received the last two years. The funding, the university says, goes to support education and lets it charge in-state undergraduates less.

Moore noted that funding means Penn State gets about $5,400 from the state for each resident undergraduate. But, Penn State’s discount for in-state students is more than twice that much.

In another development for higher education in Pennsylvania, Moore said the Higher Education Funding Commission, which was on pause through COVID, will be reactivated in January.

The commission, he said, is “tasked with developing a performance-based funding process for Pitt, Temple and Penn State that should be in place by the end of the 2022-23 fiscal year.”

Anne Danahy has been a reporter at WPSU since fall 2017. Before crossing over to radio, she was a reporter at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, and she worked in communications at Penn State. She is married with cats.
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