Penn State remains silent on plans for an additional $12 million in COVID funding
Gov. Tom Wolf plans to “soon” pay out about $12 million to Penn State – and millions to the state’s other three Commonwealth universities – as part of a one-time boost involving the relief money federal COVID-19, but Penn State has yet to announce details on how it intends to use the windfall.
Pitt announced Aug. 25 that he plans to distribute his $7.5 million award to more than 20,000 students across the state, in individual grants of about $350 each. On Friday, a Penn State spokesperson declined to answer directly when asked if the university had a timeline for publicly sharing its plan on the additional funds, which are entirely within Wolf’s control.
It’s unclear exactly when the federal stimulus funds, led by the governor, will be disbursed. Wolf’s spokeswoman, Elizabeth Rementer, told CDT on Thursday that she didn’t have a specific timeline, adding only that she was told “soon.” She also confirmed that the four universities would receive approximately $30 million in total.
Spotlight PA reported in late July that Wolf was quietly funneling tens of millions to Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln — a total that represented a 5% increase in the universities’ respective credits, helping to offset the cost to the state. tuition. After the state legislature declined to increase state funding earlier in July, the four universities announced various tuition hikes.
Shortly after the initial Spotlight PA story was published in July, House Republicans called on state-affiliated universities to reverse their tuition increases arguing that Wolf’s one-time funds meant that the increases were no longer necessary. The four universities refused.
Pennsylvania annually ranks among the worst states in the nation for per capita support for higher education.
“Once we understand when funds will be received and all stipulations regarding how they are to be used, we will absolutely use them to support student success,” Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi wrote in response. to the House Republican leadership team. “This injection of one-time funds, however, will not eliminate the greater financial pressures facing the institution.”
Penn State operated with a nearly $200 million deficit last fiscal year and announced a “strategic hiring freeze” in early August.
It raised in-state undergraduate tuition at University Park by 5% (to $19,286), though university officials said students whose families earn less than $75,000 $ would not see the increase. Penn State was able to promise this by setting aside an additional $14 million in financial aid.