The SOS Challenge: Student Tuition & Fees

The Safeguard Old State Vision for Student Tuition & Fees

Safeguard Old State seeks a return to a sensible, fiscally responsible stewardship of student tuition and fees by all Penn State officials — students, faculty and administrators.

Penn State University was founded with a land-grant mission to educate, primarily, the poor and middle class youth of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Today, with tuition and fees for in-state students having surpassed $7,000 per semester mark, we are no longer fulfilling our mission as a land-grant university.

Since 1997, tuition and fees have increased dramatically, more than tripling in cost and thereby leaving a heavier burden on the students of Penn State. In order to return to sanity in regard to student tuition and fees, we offer a few common sense solutions.

The Keys To A Return To Glory

  • Penn State administrators must make real efforts to reign in their budgets across every department at our university. Lip service must be distinguished from real action in fighting educational cost inflation.
  • Student fees should be kept strictly within the domain of student government entities, and not decided upon by administrators. It’s important to remember that, when it comes to student fees, “student” is the operative word.
  • Penn State officials should seek to work with state legislators in Harrisburg to enact a new form of the tuition challenge grant, first spearheaded by Rep. Lynn Herman, in order to freeze costs across campuses in exchange for guaranteed increases in taxpayer appropriations.
  • The University Faculty Senate must work in earnest to mitigate the unnecessarily burdensome cost of textbooks. This is a key component in any sound strategy toward reigning in the cost of education.
  • Our administrators and trustees must recall that, as a land-grant university, we are called not necessarily to outspend our peers in an arms race for the best facilities, but to educate the common Pennsylvanian.
  • A tuition price guarantee should be created for students of extreme financial need that secures their level of tuition and fees for four years at their freshman-year levels. Alumni fundraisers and scholarship development can serve to fund this initiative.
  • Penn State administrators should prioritize students as the most important of the three-fold mission of the university and strive to follow the lead of ivy league universities like Harvard in establishing programs to pay outright the cost of education for students whose families earn below a certain amount annually.