Tuition Increases Range From 0 to 4 Percent Lowest increases in 10 years

Issue Date: 
July 20, 2009

The Budget Committee of the University of Pittsburgh’s Board of Trustees today recommended and the Board’s Executive Committee approved the University’s tuition rate schedule for the 2009-10 fiscal year, with increases ranging from 0 to 4 percent. Although the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has not yet approved an appropriation for the University, the University administration believes it is essential to approve and publish tuition rates for the coming year so that our students and their families may plan their budgets.

As was first announced in April, the University has frozen tuition for all students at its four regional campuses, in Bradford, Greensburg, Johnstown, and Titusville. At its Pittsburgh campus, it is raising tuition for in-state students by 4 percent for all of its programs, both undergraduate and graduate, except for first professional students in the School of Medicine, whose tuition will not increase. This will result, for instance, in a $512 increase for in-state undergraduate students in the School of Arts and Sciences (A&S), whose tuition will increase from $12,832 to $13,344.

In addition, the University is limiting the tuition increase for all of its out-of-state students on the Pittsburgh campus to 2.5 percent. This means that tuition for an out-of-state undergraduate student in A&S will increase by $562, from $22,480 to $23,042.

Cognizant of the burden this places on students attending its Pittsburgh campus, the University also has increased financial aid by comparable percentages.

“During this challenging period of financial stress nationwide and particularly in the Commonwealth, we at Pitt are especially mindful of the difficulties faced by our students and their families in setting tuition levels this year,” commented Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “For years we have been cultivating a culture of efficiency throughout the University. In responding to the current recession, we already have frozen salaries across all campuses, limited hiring, made campuswide cuts in operating budgets, and cut back on capital projects. Now, we face a proposed appropriation for fiscal year 2010 that is $31 million lower than what the University’s original, authorized FY 2009 appropriation was. That would take our appropriation to a point several million dollars beneath its 1995 level, when our enrollment was well over 2,000 students smaller, when our research enterprise was not much more than one-third its current size, and when costs generally were much lower. Maintaining the quality of our current programs without further tuition increases will be impossible unless the $31 million in funding is restored.  Given the uncertainties that still exist, then, the executive committee’s action specifically recognizes that tuition levels might have to be revisited and raised once the Commonwealth’s budget has been adopted.”

Pitt made the decision to impose a moderate tuition increase in the expectation that the state budget will ultimately restore Pitt’s appropriation to the full funding level reflected in the Commonwealth’s April 24 and May 19 applications to the U.S. Department of Education for Stimulus Act funding. The University views this week’s decision by the U.S. Department of Education that Pennsylvania’s four state-related universities must be included in the Commonwealth’s application for federal stimulus funding to be a positive step in the prolonged budget-resolution process.

“After today’s announced tuition increases, there is the potential of a $31 million budget gap that would have to be addressed with other actions if Commonwealth funding were to remain at the most recently proposed level,” said Arthur G. Ramicone, Pitt’s vice chancellor for budget and controller.

“Once we know the funding level we will receive from the state and whether we will receive Stimulus Act funding, we may be forced to levy a tuition surcharge to help cover the shortfall from our originally proposed FY 2010 appropriation,” Ramicone added.

“In addition, we would need to make up the rest of the deficit through stringent budget reductions that would affect programs, staffing levels, and capital projects, along with seed funding for research development that to date has been one of the region’s primary drivers of employment gains and economic vitality,” Ramicone concluded.

Currently, Pitt contributes the following to Western Pennsylvania’s economy:

• University-related spending in the local economy exceeded $1.74 billion;

• Some $1.3 billion in personal income was generated from nearly 33,800 Pitt-supported jobs;

• More than $145 million went to local communities, including sales, wage, and real estate taxes;

• Pitt faculty members attracted more than $650 million in research expenditures, supporting more than 23,100 jobs;

• Pitt’s investment in construction over the past three years generated more than 1,300 jobs annually in construction and related industries; and

• From 2003 to 2008, Pitt technologies have formed the basis of 42 start-up companies.