Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Keeping education affordable

Bloomsburg University has always prided itself on providing a top-quality education at a very affordable price and will continue to do so in light of the recent tuition increase established by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors. As a result of their decision, our students will see a 3.7 percent increase in tuition for the 2009-10 academic year. It equates to $196 more a year for a full-time, in-state student.

I wrote last time about how the struggling economy continues to impact business, politics, families and higher education. In order for BU to maintain the level of education and learning opportunities our students and alumni have grown accustomed to and appreciative of, budget adjustments were needed.

BU and its 13 sister state universities are not alone in facing the tough challenges of providing higher education in this economy. Penn State University recently increased its tuition by 4.5 percent, which equates to roughly $585, and other universities in the state and our region are doing the same. However, we have kept cost increases to a minimum, including the recent tuition increase.

It’s also important to keep in mind this key budgetary decision was made without knowing how much funding the state university system will receive once state legislators pass a 2009-10 budget. There is still a level of uncertainty about what kind of cuts we may be faced with. This may impact the total number of courses we are able to offer. Unfortunately the state’s support has consistently fallen for many years, which has left the financial burden more on the shoulders of BU, its students and their families.

Despite the economic hardships, BU and its committed faculty have been resilient and moved forward in providing an excellent higher education. The quality of BU’s academic programs, faculty and staff is evident with the highest enrollment numbers we have ever seen, including an expected record number of freshmen coming this fall in the wake of the current recession. More students are seeing the value of a BU education, especially the quality accessed here at an affordable price. At BU, we are proud to provide our students with an excellent education that prepares them for life in our multicultural society and global economy at a cost that does not leave them with excessive debt.

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