Visitors walk through the campus of Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, Butler County, in May 2019. (AP File Photo/Keith Srakocic) Slippery Rock University
Visitors walk through the campus of Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, Butler County, in May 2019. (AP File Photo/Keith Srakocic)

While awaiting for financial help from the state, the System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors approved the fourth year of flat tuition at Pennsylvania’s state universities.

HARRISBURG — Students at Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities won’t see a tuition increase next year under a unanimous vote Thursday by the system’s board.

The State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors passed what will be the fourth year of flat tuition, as the struggling system hopes the Legislature will approve hundreds of millions in additional funding in the 2022-23 state budget.

“The state’s decision about our budget this year is existential for the state system,” Chancellor Daniel Greenstein said this week, ahead of the expected vote. “It will determine the future of higher education in the state.”

Greenstein has been overseeing reforms to the sprawling system that currently enrolls nearly 90,000 students.

The board six months ago sought $550 million in state funding next year, an increase of about 15%, along with $201 million in student aid and about $75 million in federal funds to help pay for system changes.

“I felt it’s not really the right time to seek a tuition increase,” Greenstein said.

The board could still increase tuition ahead of the coming school year if the state budget subsidy is not sufficient.

Tuition is currently about $7,700 for in-state undergraduates. Typical total costs for new in-state undergraduates living on campus are just under $22,000. The typical graduate leaves with $39,000 in student debt.