University officials said they hope to keep next year's tuition increase relatively low, but warn that this may not be possible because of proposed cuts in state funding. Last year's 6.9 percent increase was the lowest rise in tuition and fees in at least 15 years, making it three years in a row that the rate of tuition increase has dropped. And University Trustee Myles Tannenbaum said Friday that the Board of Trustees had planned to continue this trend for the next school year. But administrators said yesterday that they will have to rework the University's budget in light of Governor Robert Casey's proposal to cut the University's annual funding almost in half. The proposal calls for reducing state appropriations from last year's $37.3 million to $19 million. Earlier this year, the governor cut $1.2 million from already appropriated funds for Fiscal Year 1990, leaving the University with $2.5 million less than administrators had expected. It also led to the possibility of a $1 million deficit, according to University administrators. Provost Michael Aiken said last night he does not yet know how these cutbacks will affect students' tuition next year, but stressed that administrators "would still like to try to hold down the increase of tuition." Aiken said planning for next year's tuition increase, which has almost been completed, may have to be reconsidered in light of Casey's announcement. "It's been a general strategy over the past few years to try to keep down the level of tuition," Aiken said. "I don't know whether that will be possible now." And members of the Undergraduate Assembly are worried that the cuts may hurt their efforts, already underway, to keep tuition increases to a minimum. "I take the cuts to be huge," said Mitch Winston, chairperson of the UA's tuition committee. "I'm very concerned right now." Winston said the UA is in the middle of its drive to keep increases to a minimum. Last month, at the meeting of the Trustees' Budget and Finance Committee, the UA outlined its concerns about tuition and its plans to demonstrate student interest in keeping increases low. "We're keeping the same plan of attack," Winston said yesterday. Tannenbaum, chairperson of the Trustee's campus planning committee, insisted that "it is the policy of the Trustees and of the administration that the rate of increase of tuition must keep coming down." Tannenbaum said Trustees discussed lowering tuition increases at their meeting in January, adding that the long-term goal of the administration is to eliminate tuition increases altogether. "It is inadmissible to simply pass [the budget cuts] along to students," Tannenbaum said. "The mission has got to be keeping tuition as low as possible so the broadest range of students are able to attend and so as to not price ourselves out of the market." But UA representatives said that the Trustee's attempts to keep tuition raises down will probably be devastated by the state cuts. "It could hurt our efforts," UA Chairperson Duchess Harris said yesterday. "It doesn't give the University much leverage." Winston said the UA is organizing a petition to collect names of students who support low tuition increases. He said UA leaders hope to get the signatures of 4000 students on the petition. "They [state legislators] don't really care if Bill from Chicago wants the University to get more state money," Winston said. "It means more coming from state residents."Comments powered by Disqus
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