College Tuition

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Gov. Tom Wolf is applauding the board that oversees Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities for tentatively agreeing to a tuition freeze in exchange for a $45 million increase in the system's appropriation.

The State System of Higher Education voted 9-8 on Thursday to endorse the freeze, which also applies to instructional fees.

The resolution approved by the board says the freeze ultimately is subject to approval by the board. Wolf says the freeze is contingent upon passage of the funding increase.

With college costs rising faster than inflation for the last decade, Pennsylvania lawmakers have unveiled a 13-bill package that would make higher education more affordable, especially for students from lower-income families.

The PA 529 College Savings program has reported that 2014 was its best year with record breaking number of accounts, amounts contributed and total assets.

“The fund has done extremely well, the Treasury has done a really tremendous job managing these investments, but it’s also due to the increase in program participation,” said Carrie Lepore, community and outreach director for PA 529.

The number of accounts grew 6.2 percent from 2013. People contributed $447.3 million in 2014 — 6 percent more than was saved in 2013.

Brian Donovan / Flickr

As the Pittsburgh region experiences its yearly rush of returning college students, a number of high school graduates who initially registered will not be moving into the freshmen dorms. 

According to University of Pittsburgh Education Professor Lindsay Page, 10 to 20 percent of the high school graduates who register for college in the spring fail to show up for enrollment in the fall. This is due in large part to unforeseen financial constraints, lack of resources and lack of guidance.

In researching this growing problem, Page looked at enrollment data, and she interviewed career counselors, advisors and students for her forthcoming book Summer Melt: Supporting Low-income Students through the Transition to College

Already cited by the U.S. Department of Education as having the highest tuition for a four-year public university or college, the University of Pittsburgh is raising its rates for the 2014-15 academic year.

The Pitt Board of Trustees Friday approved a $1.97 billion operating budget for the fiscal year that started July 1 — up $10 million from the just completed year.

Tuition is going up at the 14 state-owned universities. The Board of Governors of the PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) voted to increase tuition by three percent or $68 in the coming school year.  That means students will be paying $6,820 per year.

“That’s far and away the lowest cost among all four-year colleges and universities in Pennsylvania. It’s the eighth time in the last 10 years that our increase has been essentially the rate of inflation,” said PASSHE spokesman Kenn Marshall. 

Financial Aid Takes a Surprising Shift

Sep 20, 2013
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Over the past several years, there’s been a shift in the financial aid industry. According to ProPublica reporter Marian Wang, a growing share of financial aid has been given to the highest income quartile, with less offered to those in the lowest income quartile.

Wang says financial aid has “shifted to being more about the schools needs and their enrollment goals than necessarily meeting the needs of the students.”

Students at state-owned universities will see another tuition hike for the upcoming academic year.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) approved a 3 percent tuition increase Tuesday for all of its 14 academic universities.

The rise is expected to generate an additional $27 million in revenue.

Pennsylvanians applying for financial assistance for college have reason to hope for more money this year.

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency has run the numbers, and all signs point to grant awards going up for applicants looking for help covering the costs of college.

PHEAA says it expects the maximum grant award to be $4,363, up by more than $150 from last year.
The average grant is expected to be more than $3,000, also more than last year's average.