Temple students may be footing the bill after a state budget standoff has left Temple scrambling to make up for lost funds.
If lawmakers can’t pass a funding package that would provide appropriations for state related schools within the next few weeks, Pennsylvania residents who receive a $12,000 discount annually will see a hike in their bill come November.
“So, if we were to get defunded, and lose all 156 million, there’s really no other option then to get rid of that in-state discount, and really [start] equalizing the tuitions. So we would be bringing the in-state tuition to the [same] level as the out-of-state. We’d have to do that because by receiving no funding, there is no reason to provide a discount, and we simply couldn’t do it,” said Ken Kaiser, Chief Financial Officer of Temple University.
This isn’t the first time that Temple has had to face the prospect of losing state funding. Just two years ago, the state went eight months without appropriating money to its state associated institutions. But Kaiser said this time it’s different.
“That had a whole different look and feel to that situation. There was never talk of ‘well maybe we just won’t fund the state related universities,’ it was really about negotiating on getting the final pieces of the budget put together…this time is completely different,” Kaiser said. “I mean there’s talk right off the bat that you know is it important to fund these schools, so you know whole different approach if we went past spring without reacting to that, the university would be looking at a 156 million dollar, you know, budget/cash issue.”
And Temple officials aren’t the only ones who see the problem should these state institutions not be funded.
“If the tuition at these institutions gets any higher, higher educational opportunities for Pennsylvania’s working class families, which frequently look to these institutions for opportunities in higher ed will become out of reach,” Representative Thomas Murt (R – 152nd District) in Harrisburg on Wednesday. “I am a graduate of Penn State. I currently am a Doctoral student at Temple University. My wife is a full time professor at Temple and I have a son who’s a sophomore at Temple University. We are still in the throws of higher education. We see the tuition bills and we are very empathetic to what will happen if this funding is not forthcoming in the near future.”
Representatives across the aisle agree.
“This breaks a long standing generational commitment to Pennsylvania students and families that the legislature has had for many, many years to help with higher education so that we can better train our young people and make sure they are better taken care of, and become very productive tax-paying citizens of our commonwealth,” said Representative Joe Markosek (D – 25th District).
But with no end in sight, Temple is prepared to step in to make ends meet – even if it means students have to face a hike in tuition.
Kaiser said that if a tuition hike were to happen, it would start in the spring 2018 semester. Spring bills are set to be posted November 27th, and Kaiser estimates a final tuition decision will be made by November 20th depending on forthcoming appropriation news from Harrisburg.
There are just six days of scheduled House sessions before that November 20th deadline.