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July 2011 Grassroots Information Update


Volume 9, Issue 8 / July 2011


Commonwealth OKs Penn State appropriation

A Pennsylvania budget providing about $279 million in appropriation funds to Penn State for the 2011-12 budget year received final approval from the state legislature in late June and was signed by Gov. Tom Corbett.

The funding represents a reduction of $68 million compared to the previous year.

“We are very pleased to have a state budget and Penn State appropriation completed on time,” said Penn State President Graham Spanier. “I want to thank the many legislators who supported moderating the size of the cut originally proposed for Penn State. The original $182 million proposed cut would have had a devastating impact on our students and our employees.”

Although much of the funding has been restored from earlier proposals, this appropriation still represents a 19.6 percent cut from last year's appropriation. It is equivalent to the amount received by Penn State in 1995, when the University's enrollment was 19,000 fewer students than it is today.

The overall decrease includes a 19 percent reduction in the University's educational budget appropriation; a 19 percent reduction for agricultural research and cooperative extension; a 5 percent reduction for Penn College; and a 50 percent reduction in support for the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

To prepare for the lower appropriation, Penn State has been implementing both across-the-board and targeted cuts. During the past three months, those cuts and internal savings have totaled nearly $30 million.

Penn State is generating savings through changes in its health care benefits system, energy savings, cuts in the capital improvement program, savings in property and liability insurance, funding cuts aimed at new programs, and salary freezes.

Spanier said the University remains committed to keeping the tuition increase at a modest level, so students and their families are not asked to bear the brunt of the reduced appropriation. "We expect to have a tuition increase that is what you might see in a normal year," he said.

Penn State’s Board of Trustees will set the budget and tuition for 2011-12 on July 15 when it meets at Penn State Lehigh Valley.

House Speaker Sam Smith receives legislative award

House Speaker Samuel H. Smith ’78, recipient of this year's Friend of Penn State legislative award
State Rep. Samuel H. Smith, R-66th District, received the sixth annual “Friend of Penn State” legislative award June 17 for the significant role he has played in the continued improvement of Penn State.  

Now serving his 13th consecutive term, Smith is one of the most senior members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and currently serves as Speaker of the House. His legislative district consists of Jefferson County and parts of Armstrong and Indiana counties. A Penn State alumnus with a 1978 degree in advertising, he was nominated for the award by officials at Penn State DuBois.

The award was presented to Smith by Rodney P. Kirsch, Penn State’s senior vice president of development and alumni relations. Kirsch outlined Smith’s many efforts on Penn State’s behalf, including consistently strong support for Penn State’s annual state appropriation. “Sam’s leadership team in the House enabled a major restoration to Penn State’s appropriation,” Kirsch said.

Smith has also worked with Penn State DuBois on accessing state and federal funds for the construction of the DuBois Educational Foundation Education and Technology Center and was instrumental in committing and directing $4 million in state funding for construction of a free-standing Children’s Hospital at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

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