April 11, 2024

PASSHE Board of Governors Affirms Interest in Potential Tuition Freeze

Contact: Kevin Hensil, khensil@passhe.edu

Seeks state appropriation of $623.7 million—an increase of $38.1 million (or 6.5%)—for the 2024-25 fiscal year

Funding above the requested amount would further reduce costs to students, increase student success and opportunities

Tuition has been flat for a remarkable six years

Harrisburg, PA – The Board of Governors for Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education met today and reaffirmed its request for a state appropriation of at least $623.7 million—an increase of $38.1 million (or 6.5%)—for the 2024-25 fiscal year to enable the State System to keep tuition frozen for a remarkable seventh consecutive year.

“PASSHE wants to freeze tuition again next year as part of our commitment to keeping tuition as low as possible,” said Board of Governors Chair Cynthia D. Shapira. “The Board of Governors is grateful for the historic funding the governor and General Assembly have provided in recent years that helped us freeze tuition and build on the power and promise of PASSHE to offer students the most affordable option in the state. We will continue working with state leaders to secure a funding increase that would enable us to freeze tuition again next year.”

The Board of Governors announced the funding request last October and repeated it today amid state budget discussions by state leaders. Funding above PASSHE’s request would help the System lower costs for students and invest in their success.

Tuition Freezes Benefit Students and Employers
PASSHE has kept in-state undergraduate tuition at $7,716 a year for six years, a rare accomplishment in higher education across the county.

If tuition had kept pace with inflation, students would pay 21% more today.

PASSHE’s tuition freezes and cost savings initiatives— aided by significant state funding increases— are allowing more students and families to afford college. The price State System students pay for tuition, fees, room, board and common expenses is nearly flat over the last five years, despite inflation and other cost pressures. As a result, enrollment of new first-time students is up a combined 10% over the past two years.

“The State System has made remarkable progress in recent years. We have kept tuition frozen, improved student success, increased new student enrollment, and stabilized the System’s finances, despite the challenges in higher education across the country," said Chancellor Dan Greenstein. “The funding increase we are requesting will allow us to freeze tuition again, continue offering degrees for the most in-demand careers at the lowest cost for students and build a stronger workforce.”

The governor’s proposed blueprint is raising awareness of the national challenges confronting higher education and the need to reduce costs for students, increase their access to higher education and improve coordination across the sector. Those priorities build on PASSHE’s ongoing redesign, and while the complex discussion evolves, Pennsylvania should continue to increase investments in PASSHE students, their universities and the progress occurring throughout the State System.

Aligning Programs to Workforce Needs
PASSHE has been undergoing a multi-year transformation that is delivering results for students, employers and the commonwealth. State System universities have improved student affordability and success, have graduation rates consistently better than similar institutions, and align academic learning to workforce needs. Today, nearly 80% of students major in areas with in-demand jobs, making PASSHE universities a key to workforce development and addressing worker shortages.

The Board of Governors also updated its transfer policies in 2021, which guarantee admission to Pennsylvania community college students with associate degrees. More than 59,000 community college students have transferred to a PASSHE university since 2010, and nearly 96% of credits were accepted last year.

Additionally, dual enrollment by high school students has nearly doubled since 2018.

The Board will set tuition in July after the commonwealth completes the budget process.