UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — During his annual budget address on Tuesday, Feb. 8, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled a proposed state budget for 2022-23 that includes a 5% funding increase for Penn State, in addition to $2.35 million in new funding for Invent Penn State, a program focused on driving economic development and entrepreneurship across the state.
The proposed 5% increase aligns with the University’s 2022-23 appropriation request and would apply to Penn State’s general support appropriation — which allows Penn State to offer an in-state tuition rate that about 45,000 Pennsylvania resident students each year — as well as to Penn State Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension and Pennsylvania College of Technology.
The governor’s proposal will require the approval of the Pennsylvania General Assembly in order to be included in the state’s final budget in late June. If approved, the increase would be Penn State’s first since a 2% increase for the 2019-20 academic year.
“Penn State is grateful to Gov. Wolf for his strong commitment to public higher education in Pennsylvania, and in particular to his steadfast support for Penn State, especially as the commonwealth continues to navigate the challenges of the coronavirus,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “Penn State’s focus has been to reduce the overall cost of a degree, and this increased investment from the commonwealth would significantly aid our efforts to provide students from across Pennsylvania with an affordable, high-quality Penn State education. At the same time, increased funding would allow us to invest in the excellence of our academic programs so that a life-changing Penn State degree can continue to serve as a beacon for upward mobility for Pennsylvania’s working families.”
The governor’s proposed funding for Penn State includes:
- $254.2 million for the University’s general support appropriation, an increase of $12.1 million over 2021-22. The general support appropriation is applied entirely to Penn State’s education budget and allows the University to offer an in-state tuition rate that more than doubles the state’s investment, saving each Pennsylvania resident undergraduate an average of $13,000 per year on the cost of tuition and helping them to graduate with less debt.
- $57.7 million for Penn State Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension, an increase of $2.7 million. Agricultural research and extension programmes, which support the agriculture industry and local communities in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, are not supplemented with tuition, dollars so funding increases are necessary to keep pace with inflation and to leverage matching federal and county funding. Increased state support is vital to Penn State’s efforts to support agricultural education, serve rural communities, and help to address the challenges facing the state’s industry, such as combating destructive and invasive species, safeguarding Pennsylvania animal agriculture, and providing workforce development programs.
- $28.1 million for Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, an increase of $1.3 million. Increased funding for Penn College, a special mission affiliate of Penn State with a focus on applied technology education, would be used primarily to fund upgrades to laboratory facilities and equipment and expand instructional capacity in high-demand fields, such as the college’s Physician Assistant Studies program.
“While this is the first step in Pennsylvania’s budget process, I am encouraged by Gov. Wolf’s robust support for higher education in this budget, as state funding is the financial bedrock of Penn State’s land-grant partnership with the commonwealth,” Barron said. “We look forward to continued conversations with the governor and the General Assembly this spring about the value of public higher education and how Penn State’s appropriation positively impacts Pennsylvania and the students and communities we serve.”
Barron is scheduled to appear before the Senate and House appropriations committees on March 3 and March 8, respectively, to discuss the University’s funding with legislators.
Governor’s proposed investment in Invent Penn State would advance Pa. economy
Gov. Wolf’s proposed budget also includes the University’s request for $2.35 million in new funding for Invent Penn State, a program that provides Pennsylvania entrepreneurs with the resources, connections and know-how to successfully launch new businesses. This funding would help the University to strengthen and grow the Invent Penn State LaunchBox and Innovation Hub Network across Pennsylvania, expand established entrepreneurship training programs and startup pitch competitions with additional staffing and support services, and increase access to the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program to support more businesses.
“It is gratifying to see that the governor recognizes the tremendous value of Invent Penn State and wants to invest state resources to expand the great work already underway to foster entrepreneurship and innovation, create new jobs, and strengthen Pennsylvania’s economy,” said Barron. “Since 2015, Penn State has invested significant university resources to build out the successful Invent Penn State innovation hub network statewide and has partnered with individuals, corporations and foundations to maximize our investment — resulting in 96% of Pennsylvanians living within 30 miles of one of our 21 innovation hubs.”
Modeled after Penn State Extension and consistent with the University’s land-grant mission to serve the interests of the commonwealth, Invent Penn State and its innovation hubs are open to anyone, regardless of Penn State affiliation or experience level, and offer no-cost services and programs that are designed to de-risk and accelerate the creation of new businesses.
During the pandemic these physical locations became a connected, cohesive virtual network, giving entrepreneurs from anywhere in the state free access to accelerator programs, business startup training and incubation, funding for commercialization, co-working space, makerspaces for prototyping and fabrication, legal and intellectual property advice from Penn State Law, and collaboration and mentorship — all designed to help fast-track the transfer of new ideas into products and services that will benefit Pennsylvania and its economy.
These programs and services are offered in partnership with regional economic development authorities, chambers of commerce, Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers, and Ben Franklin Technology Partners to develop customized support for entrepreneurs. Each of the innovation hubs is embedded in a community where a Penn State campus resides, and each is tailored to meet the specific needs and challenges of the region it serves, with a goal of spurring new business growth, job creation, and economic development and revitalization.
Since its 2015 launch, Invent Penn State has assisted nearly 5,000 Pennsylvania entrepreneurs; engaged with more than 13,000 Penn State students, faculty and staff; helped to launch 218 new Pennsylvania companies; completed 201 product development projects; and created more than 300 new jobs and nearly 500 internships. The nature of the businesses that Invent Penn State has supported span a range of fields, including educational technologies, energy, environmental protection, food security, health care, manufacturing, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and more.
Additional information about the programs and services offered by Invent Penn State can be found at invent.psu.edu.