Being president of the Penn State Brandywine Alumni Society, I have the honor and privilege to address our graduates at commencement. I personally greet and welcome every graduate into the largest alumni network in the world - The Penn State Alumni Association. After receiving their degrees in hand, I shake their hands and say "Congratulations! Welcome to the family!" I can see the excitement and joy in their eyes. I also see the proud looks from parents, family, and loved ones as their son, daughter, brother, sister; mom, dad, and even grandparents have finished their Penn State career.
However, sadly, this reality is becoming tougher for all of our students due to the cost of tuition rising and the deep cuts to state appropriation in Pennsylvania. I believe the University needs to become flexible in reducing unnecessary costs that are passed on to our students and increase fundraising efforts to help students manage their tuition costs.
Adopting the region-based commonwealth campus system would enable the University to keep tuition affordable for our students by relying on the local campuses in each region to control tuition costs and fees which would be based on the local economic demand.
Tuition costs and fees for students can be reduced further by not allowing other University premium costs to be passed on to them. This can be achieved by reviewing the budget for underperforming academic programs which are being funded. The resources and money from these academic programs can be shifted to flourishing academic programs to assist in offsetting operating expenses.
One of the responsibilities of this University to its students is to keep tuition accessible and affordable. I believe the University should consider increasing its efforts in fundraising for scholarships to assist students with their tuition cost and fees.