Monday, September 12, 2005

Trustees to focus on state funding

Trustees to focus on state funding
The board members will also discuss plans for the Dickinson School of Law.

Collegian Staff Writer

The Penn State Board of Trustees will meet today to consider how much funding the university will request from the state Legislature and to make further plans for the Dickinson School of Law.

Board members will meet at 8:30 a.m. in the Nittany Lion Inn, 200 W. Park Ave., for an all-day meeting to discuss current issues affecting the university.

Penn State spokesman Tysen Kendig said the major issue on the agenda will be the approval of the university's 2006-07 state appropriation request.

"It could very well be a request to have the state return to the 2001-02 funding level, which was higher," he said. "It has a big bearing on what we're able to do with tuition rates."

Kendig said the university needs to ask for more funding because of previous cuts by the state. The university made the same request to the Legislature last year but was denied the funding. Last year's state appropriations totaled $323.6 million, though the university requested $334.8 million.

"We're still catching up to almost $44 million in budget cuts from the early part of this decade," Kendig said.

Undegraduate Student Government (USG) Vice President Luke Adams, who will be representing USG at the meeting, said he wants to talk about tuition.

"I don't get very long to talk, but tuition will be a big issue," he said.

Adams said he expects state appropriations to decrease this year, which will hurt students.

"You're just going to see more of what you see every year, like higher student activity fees, higher gym fees and increasing tuition," he said. "Whatever they can hike up, they hike up."

USG faces problems with trying to lower tuition every year, he said.

"Getting our voice heard isn't the problem," he said. "Getting the legislators to care enough to take us seriously is the trouble."

He added that the university would also be considering the appointment of an architect for Dickinson School of Law buildings as well as the possibility of building new graduate housing on campus. The trustees will debate the proposals for the capital budget request, which funds construction projects on Penn State campuses.

"We're moving ahead with our plans for the dual-campus structure," Kendig said. "These are the early steps in making that a reality."

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