PA State System of Higher Education considers tuition hike

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A few changes are coming for students and faculty at Pennsylvania's 14 state universities.

Administrators at Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education hired a consulting firm to find out what ails the schools.

Things have not been looking up for the universities of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education.

Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education media relations manager Kenn Marshall said "with the combination of the sluggish revenue, declining revenue frankly, frankly declining enrollment some of our universities are struggling."

Costs now outweigh revenue.

To help make up for a $72 million dollar budget shortfall, a committee agreed to make up the difference, partly from students, with a 3.5 percent tuition hike.

Tuition could increase from about $7,200 to about $7,500 a semester.

"The finance administration and facilities committee will discuss the tuition for the fall semester, and then the full board would vote on that recommendation that committee would make, the full board would vote on that tomorrow," Marshall said.

Kutztown University senior Jeremy Griffin said "when will we ever stop raising the tuition? I guess the answer is never."

The board also hired a consulting firm to figure out other ways to get the schools back on track, but it's recommendations are merely suggestions, not a mandate.

"Some, the board can implement on its own, some the university could just do, the more dramatic steps, if you will, likely will require legislative action," Marshall said.

No schools are recommended to close or merge, but other suggestions presented in the independent review include a change in organizational structure and reconfigure some universities.

Whether any of the recommendations will be enacted anytime soon is unknown, but some say they are sure of one thing.

"That come august, all 14 of our universities will open. We'll have classes. We expect more than 100,000 students to attend, and it will be business as usual," Marshall said.

Committee members point out tuition is still about half of what it costs to attend other Pennsylvania schools such as Penn State University or Temple University.