Pennsylvania’s Republican nominee for governor is calling on the commonwealth’s four state-related universities to rethink potential tuition increases as inflation continues to put families across the state in a financial bind.
In a letter to the leaders of Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University and Lincoln University, state Sen. Doug Mastriano pressured university leaders to “reconsider” raising the cost of tuition for students, suggesting that tuition rates be frozen for the upcoming academic year.
“Record-high inflation rates coupled with unsustainable student loan borrowing costs places the dream of a college degree further and further out of reach for many families,” Mastriano wrote in a letter to the four universities. “Pennsylvania’s families simply cannot afford a tuition hike in addition to the rising costs in other parts of the economy.”
Given the fact that state-related universities received more than $595 million in state funding in this year’s budget, Mastriano said universities should have the ability to keep tuition rates frozen at their current rates.
He added that a recent decision from Gov. Tom Wolf to give state-related universities a one-time 5% funding increase using federal stimulus funds should be enough to prevent tuition increases for this year.
“These universities have received enough supplemental funding from the state for the upcoming year to avoid unnecessary tuition increases,” Mastriano said in a statement accompanying his letter.
The request from Mastriano comes after three state-related institutions – Penn State, Pitt and Temple – already took action to raise tuition rates for the 2023-23 academic year. Temple University’s Board of Trustees voted earlier this month to raise undergraduate and graduate tuition for this year by 3.9% in response to “surging inflation costs.”
Penn State officials also approved a tuition hike of 5% for its University Park campus and 2% for other locations, though university leaders say in-state and out-of-state students who come from households making less than $75,000 a year won’t see a tuition increase.
Pitt students will also see higher prices this year after the university approved a 3.5% increase for in-state students and a 5.5% increase for out-of-state students.
Mastriano’s full letter to university leaders can be read below.