Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

State-Owned Colleges Get Pricing Flexibility

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

State-Owned Colleges Get Pricing Flexibility

Article excerpt

The governing board of Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities approved today the system's first foray into differential tuition and fee pricing, giving schools the green light to begin charging rates based on demand and the cost to deliver instruction in certain majors.

Half a dozen pilot programs involving price were approved for five campuses. They included fees for high-demand, high-cost nursing programs at Clarion, Edinboro and East Stroudsburg universities as well as a plan by Edinboro to cut its out-of-state tuition to rates close to what Pennsylvanians pay.

California University of Pennsylvania will give a price break to active duty military personnel enrolled online, and Clarion will add a course-specific fee within its communication and speech disorders program.

Also as a result of today's vote, West Chester students attending Philadelphia's Center City campus will be eligible to receive a 10 percent tuition reduction.

The modified rates could be in effect in time for fall classes, officials have said. They added that additional price proposals are likely in the months ahead as the universities, including California, Clarion, Edinboro, Indiana and Slippery Rock in Western Pennsylvania, struggle with declining enrollments and rising costs amid sharp state aid cuts.

In full-board discussion today and in committee sessions Wednesday, board members and system administrators weighed the implications for the system of 112,000 students that has seen a 6 percent enrollment loss since 2010.

State System Chancellor Frank Brogan expressed support for the pricing concept, saying it provides the system with much needed flexibility. He called it "a major potential sea change."

Since the State System's creation in the early 1980s, its board of governors has approved an across-the-board tuition figure each year and a related fee.

Individual campuses have long had authority to set other fees, including those for student activities and room and board. …

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