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UPDATE: Gov. Shapiro signs bill giving flat funding to Penn State, two other state-related universities

Emily Reddy

UPDATE: The Pennsylvania House voted 149-54 Wednesday afternoon to approve the legislation the state Senate had passed earlier in the day, which includes flat funding for Penn State for the current fiscal year. On Thursday, Gov. Josh Shapiro signed the bill.

In a news release, Penn State says, in part, that it will move forward with pay increases for employees. Those had been on hold while the state funding was delayed.

The Pennsylvania Senate voted Wednesday to approve flat funding for Penn State and two of the three other state-related universities, sending the bill back to the House, which had approved increasing funding for those three universities by about 7%.

The 45-5 vote in the Senate is the latest step in a slow-moving political battle over funding for Penn State, Temple, Pitt and Lincoln universities. It comes more than four months after the start of the fiscal year.

The lack of state funding led Penn State to put employee pay raises for this year on hold.

The Senate-passed bill does include a 21% funding increase for Lincoln University and a 12.1% increase for the Penn College of Technology, which is affiliated with Penn State.

The Senate also approved a bill that will expand the financial information state-related universities have to make public. The state-relateds are not public schools, but do receive some state funding.

Under the new rules, the universities will have to provide the salaries of officers and directors and how much the top-paid 200 employees are paid. Other requirements include providing budget information for academic and administrative departments, units’ travel expenses and minutes from board of trustees meetings.

The House already approved the right-to-know legislation.

The House-approved funding legislation included $259 million for Penn State, while the Senate bill provides $242 million, the same as last year. The House also approved requiring the state-relateds to freeze tuition in 2024-25. The bill passed by the Senate does not include that requirement.

Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman, a Republican, spoke in favor of the funding. He said Gov. Josh Shapiro had committed to signing House Bill 1461 as well as House Bill 1556, the expansion of the state’s right-to-know law, which Pittman said "is a very important piece of this puzzle.”

“We are endeavoring to bring greater transparency to the state-related institutions,” Pittman said. 

He said that work will continue next year.

“We will be back here in June, further debating state-related appropriations for the upcoming fiscal year. I believe that that will be a work in progress as well,” Pittman said.

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.