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Tuition hikes take bite out of budgets

July 17, 1997

By LISA GRAYBEAL

Staff Writer, Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Local college students, their parents and spouses didn't have much positive to say about the increase in tuitions this year, even though most schools announced only a slight jump.

"I think the cost of education needs to be contained," said Joseph Birkbeck of Chambersburg, whose wife, Sherry, will be a senior at Shippensburg University this year.

"I have a serious objection to a $2 increase," he said.

Tutition at state-owned Shippensburg is determined by the governors of the State System of Higher Education, who last Thursday approved a 3 percent increase for 94,000 Pennsylvania students in the 1997-98 academic year.

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The increase translates into $100 more per year for in-state students who attend Shippensburg, for a total tuition bill of $3,468, said Scott Shewell, spokesman for the state education board.

"It's the smallest percentage increase in more than a decade and the smallest dollar increase in more than seven years," he said.

Shippensburg students will also see a $23 increase per semester in housing to $1,076; $28 more for the 15-meal plan to $785; and a $1 increase each to use the health center, at $63, and the student union, at $102.

"The board is always conscious of the cost of higher education and the possibility of limiting access. That's a very key part of the decision," Shewell said.

The extra $100 takes a bite out of the budget of Shippensburg senior Amy Hegedus, who saves her money from her summer job painting for the Chambersburg Area School District to help pay for school.

"It could've been worse...You just have to live with it," said her father, Louis Hegedus, who helps pay for his daughter's education.

He called the increase at Shippensburg reasonable.

Trustees of Penn State University, the state's largest school with 78,000 students, voted an average 3.7 percent tuition increase, though freshmen and sophomores will pay slightly less than juniors and seniors.

Penn State officials said it's the lowest general tuition increase since 1968.

In-state freshmen and sophomores will pay $2,816 per semester at University Park. Juniors and seniors will pay $2,866.

Penn State Mont Alto tuition for freshmen and sophomores will be $2,727 per semester. Juniors and seniors will pay $2,768.

"It's a shame that it (the increase) has to happen, but you need to expect it," said Laura Frome, Penn State Mont Alto spokesperson, adding that she's seen tuition at Penn State increase by as much as 8 percent in some years.

Wilson College in Chambersburg raised its tuition by 5 percent to $12,600 for the upcoming academic year in the College for Women. The school did not raise tuition in the College for Continuing Education.

"That's part of our plan to raise tuition every other year. We find this is helpful in letting our students and their families anticipate what our tuition rates will be," said John Carothers, vice president for development at Wilson.

Over the last four years, Wilson students have seen a 10 percent increase in tuition.

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