Turning attention toward rising tuition

Published February 27, 2012

The Penn State trustee race has seen some concerning developments over the past few weeks. An alumni group that rose to prominence endorsed three people who embody the status quo. Before that, a fake, anonymous endorsement email was sent to hundreds of alumni urging them to nominate three other candidates.

None of this is helpful in moving Penn State in the right direction. But I’m committed to staying away from nasty campaign tactics, maintaining my independence and focusing on my message of leadership, integrity and transparency.

Thanks to your support, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve garnered enough nominations to secure a place on the April election ballot. I can’t thank you enough for your hard work over the last few weeks.

A focus on rising tuition

You’ve helped me come this far. But we still have miles to go. That’s why I’ve started talking about the high cost of tuition at Penn State, and made three proposals to reduce the burden on middle class families.

First, I pledge to freeze undergraduate tuition over the course of students’ careers. The first-year price should be the only price, not the minimum price like it is today.

Second, I will work to limit annual spending increases to the rate of inflation. Since, tuition is the university’s primary revenue source, students and their families ultimately bear the most burden from budget hikes. We have to keep that impact in mind as new programs and building plans are approved.

Finally, we need to place a stronger emphasis on growing Penn State’s endowment fund. For far too long, generous contributions have been spent on new buildings and other one-shot deals. More money must be directed toward those investments that will continue to pay Penn State in the future.

These ideas are just the beginning of what needs to be done to stop the runaway tuition hikes we’ve seen in recent years. It’s a serious issue facing Pennsylvanians that Penn State must begin to address.

Next steps

The trustee nomination period came to a close today, and it’s time to look toward the next election milestone. On Wednesday, ballot positions will be chosen during a random drawing at Old Main. With so many candidates expected to run, the order in which they appear on the ballot could determine the election winners. Results of the drawing are normally announced at the trustees’ March meeting, but I’ll post them on my website as soon as I can.

The real election begins on April 10. Rest up!