Penn College: We hope excellence will always be available

The latest Pennsylvania College of Technology budget for the 2013-14 school year is $144.5 million. It’s a testament to how the college has grown since the days when it was known as the Williamsport Area Community College and operated out of a few buildings left behind when Williamsport Area High School moved to a new location in the early 1970s.

The budget also is a testament to how much more it costs to go to college these days.

It includes a 4-percent tuition increase for in-state students, adding $570 in costs for two 15-credit semesters. There will be an increase of $106 per credit hour for out-of-state students.

The 4-percent tuition increase follows a 5.54-percent increase in tuition in the 2012-13 school year. We share the good feeling Penn College President Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour expressed at a tuition increase less than last year’s. But both those tuition increases exceed the rate of inflation. They also exceed what people can afford long-term if this is going to be a trend for years to come. Taken as one year, the tuition increases don’t look like much. But if you add up those increases over several years, the cost of the education will eventually outpace the earning power of those paying. And that’s not a good thing.

The good news is that Penn College is an acknowledged leader in its educational offerings. The school’s employment placement record shows its worth as a trainer of future workers in a broad spectrum of occupational fields.

We just hope continual tuition hikes don’t make the school an educational opportunity out of the reach of many people in the future.