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PASSHE sets tuition increase at $99 per semester

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The board of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education today approved what it called a "modest" tuition increase of $99 per semester for the 2014-15 academic year.

That will make the base tuition rate for full-time, resident undergraduate students attending any PASSHE institutions $3,410 a semester, or $6,820 for the full academic year. With the tuition and other anticipated fee increases, the average total cost of attendance for a full-time, resident student will be about $18,500.

According to a news release, the increase "essentially matches next year’s projected rate of inflation of about 3 percent" and marks the eighth time in the last 10 years that the system has kept the increase close to the inflation rate "despite the fact that funding from the state has been held steady for four consecutive years and now stands at just slightly above the amount that was received in 1997-98 – 17 years ago."

PASSHE's 14 state-owned universities include Millersville in Lancaster County and Shippensburg in Cumberland County

The board also approved a third round of flexible tuition and fee proposals submitted by various universities, including one from Millersville to charge tuition on a per-credit basis rather than a flat rate beginning in fall 2015. A similar plan was approved earlier for Clarion University.

According to the news release, the 2014-15 state budget passed by the legislature last week and awaiting Gov. Tom Corbett’s signature includes about $412.7 million for PASSHE, "the same amount it has received each year since 2011-12, and about $90 million less than the system received in combined state and federal funds in 2010-11."

As funding support has declined over the last decade, PASSHE said, the universities have eliminated or avoided more than $250 million in operating costs from their combined budgets, and will need to make additional combined reductions totaling about $30 million this year to balance their budgets.

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