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Penn College Board Endorses 2012-13 Budget, Tuition Rates

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Board of Directors on Thursday approved a $100.15 million operating budget for 2012-13, a total budget of $139.79 million and a tuition increase of 5.54 percent for Pennsylvania residents.

The $100,146,533 operating budget, which includes no increase in the college’s state appropriation and 59 fewer full-time employee positions than the original 2011-12 budget, represents a $2.16 million (2.2-percent) increase from the current budget.

The $139,787,011 total budget represents a $3.84 million (2.83-percent) increase over the current budget, but a $3 million decrease from the original 2011-12 budget.

State appropriations for 2012-13 are budgeted at $13,584,000 – no change from the original 2011-12 budget. The Legislature has not passed its budget yet, but Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget proposal calls for level funding for Penn College. In a recent video on his website, the governor proposed “protective funding” for Penn College and two other schools, saying, “These institutions focus on providing students with the technical and practical skills needed in this new global economy.”

State appropriations represent 13.6 percent of the 2012-13 operating budget and 9.7 percent of the total budget.

Fall 2012 enrollment is conservatively budgeted for a 2.8-percent decrease – a previous enrollment shortfall continues into the 2012-13 budget year – though Penn College President Davie Gilmour said she expects an increase in the number of new students enrolling for Fall 2012.

In 2012-13, a full-time, in-state student enrolled for the typical two 15-credit semesters will pay $14,370 in tuition and fees, an increase of $780 over the current year.

Out-of-state residents pay a tuition rate indexed at 1.3 times the in-state rate. Tuition for non-Pennsylvania residents will rise by 5.68 percent in 2012-13. An out-of-state student enrolled for two 15-credit semesters will pay $18,000 in tuition and fees, an increase of $990 (5.82 percent) over 2011-12.

Annual costs for Penn College students are based upon per-credit-hour fees; the number of credits for which a student is registered determines the actual cost. For an in-state student, tuition and fees will be $479 per credit hour, an increase of $26 per credit over the current year.

Gilmour offered perspective for the tuition costs, noting a college education has significant, long-term value, and Penn College graduates, with their hands-on, real-world training for industry jobs, are coveted by employers, even in tough economic times.

“‘What’s it worth?’ Consumers answer that question all the time with their wallets and checkbooks,” the president said. “At Penn College, a typical full-time student will pay 5.54 percent more in tuition for 2012-13 – in plain terms, about $63 more per month. That’s less than the average monthly bill for cellphone service or cable TV. We know that all goods and services require a financial commitment; a college education, though, is an investment – one with a substantial return.

“According to a recent study, on average, those with bachelor’s degrees earn $2.3 million over their working lifetimes – 84 percent more than those with a high school diploma. An associate degree is a ticket to $1.7 million in lifetime earnings. Now, consider the ultimate value of Penn College’s ‘degrees that work’ and 95-percent overall placement rate, which launch graduates into lucrative, lifetime careers in stable professions. I’d say that is the definition of a sound investment.”

The college’s overall salary base is down $3.5 million from the original budget last year. A total of 91.5 full-time and 32 regular part-time positions were eliminated and/or left unfilled over the past two years.

Despite an expected increase of 18.8 percent for employee health insurance costs, employee benefits will rise by only 8.17 percent overall, due to the staff reductions.

The college’s revenue-generating auxiliary fund budgets for 2012-13 total $24 million. The restricted current fund budget – for grants, contracts and restricted donations for which outside entities (such as governmental agencies) direct the use of the money – totals $15.6 million.

The 2012-13 budget reflects a total of $920,000 in savings generated by refinancing of the college’s 2002 series bonds, which will keep the college’s debt payment at $9.1 million, consistent with the current year.

Funding for new initiatives, which are tied to the college’s Strategic Plan, is limited in 2012-13, but will include renovations and equipment for an additional nursing classroom. The classroom will allow for the enrollment of 20 more nursing students. Funds are also included for the launch of a new automotive restoration major.

Also included in the budget are gifts of $100,000 to the City of Williamsport and $35,000 to the Williamsport Area School District. Both of these voluntary contributions are re-examined on an annual basis.

Penn College is a special-mission affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University; its state appropriation is issued via a line item in Penn State’s budget. Penn College receives no direct funding from Penn State, and the college establishes its own rates for tuition and fees, which constitute the bulk of its revenues.

At a meeting in April, the Penn College Board of Directors authorized the college to continue operating at 2011-12 adjusted budget levels until a 2012-13 state budget is passed and signed into law.

For more about Penn College, visit, email or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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