For the first time in his administration, Gov. Tom Corbett isn't proposing a funding cut for state universities.

Corbett said he wouldn't ask for a funding cut in exchange for state and state-affiliated university presidents promising to limit their tuition increases.

The 14 state universities, including Millersville as well as Penn State, Temple, Pittsburgh and Lincoln universities, have all been subject to Corbett proposing to slash their funding in recent years by as much as half, only to have lawmakers later reinstate a portion of it.

So flat funding is welcome "given where we've been," said Roger Bruszewski, Millersville University vice president for finance and administration.

"Hopefully, this is the year we've bottomed out," he added.

Keeping a tuition hike low shouldn't be a big issue, he said, considering it has been relatively low in recent years despite budget cuts.

Most state-owned university system tuition hikes have been about 4-5 percent in the past five years, about $150 a semester, which is "pretty reasonable," he said. Tuition this year is $6,428 after a 3 percent hike.

With indications from lawmakers the flat funding shouldn't be taken away during budget negotiations, Bruszewski said Millersville can get an earlier than usual jump on its budget and hopefully get a tuition rate set earlier. That helps students get financial aid lined up faster, he explained.

- Reach Andrew Shaw at ashaw@yorkdispatch.com



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