For the fourth time in 16 months, Penn State's appropriation is being cut by the commonwealth. Total cuts have amounted to $29 million over this period.
Gov. Ed Rendell announced $120 million in spending reductions across the state on Thursday afternoon, with about $3.2 million of those cuts coming from Penn State's appropriation. The cuts follow several earlier cuts made by his predecessors to deal with revenue shortfalls over the past year and a half.
The cycle of budget reductions began when Gov. Tom Ridge cut Penn State's appropriation $10 million in the middle of the 2001-2002 fiscal year; the state cut the University's permanent budget $12.2 million when the current fiscal year began on July 1, 2002; Gov. Mark Schweiker cut Penn State's appropriation by $3.2 million in December 2002; and now Rendell has cut Penn State an additional $3.2 million.
"We certainly understand the difficult economic situation the state has been wrestling with recently and recognize that we need to do our part," said President Graham B. Spanier. "But this reduction comes at a particularly difficult time. With only four months left in the fiscal year, it greatly exacerbates the impact of the cuts."
Spanier continued, "We will make every effort to limit the impact on students, our employees and our core operations."
Penn State receives less state funding per student than any other state-owned or state-related school in Pennsylvania, and it receives less funding per student than any other school in the Big Ten. The University's College of Medicine, in Hershey, is ranked dead last in state funding out of the 76 public medical schools in the country.
"We will continue to emphasize quality in our education, research and outreach activities. But these ongoing budget cuts make it impossible to do that without passing additional costs to students and their families. Public higher education needs to be a priority for the commonwealth if the state is going to invigorate its economy, so our hope is that this cycle of cuts will come to an end soon," Spanier said.