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State-Related Universities Pledge Low Hikes In Tuition

Gov. Tom Wolf proposed big increases in higher education funding, and schools are starting to get back to him about whether they'd be able to keep tuition increases low — or nonexistent — in return.

Wolf's budget includes an $81 million bump in state funding for the four state-related schools: Pitt, Penn State, Temple and Lincoln University.

In return, the governor asked the schools to keep any tuition increases within the rate of inflation.

The heads of all four institutions have agreed — though some hedged their bets, in case the additional state aid doesn't materialize.

"If the amount of funding that is mentioned in the governor's proposal were to be forthcoming, I would see no issue in tuition being cost-of-living or less," said Temple President Neil Theobald.

"These types of increases would allow us to keep tuition increases below inflation," said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, "and that would be our goal going in."

The 14 state-owned universities are also slated to get more state aid, with a $45 million boost, or 11 percent over their current budget. The system was asked to freeze tuition in return. But state system Chancellor Frank Brogan said last week that such a commitment is "impossible."