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Priorities for Excellence: The Penn State Strategic Plan 2009-10 through 2013-14

Goal 7: Control Costs and Generate Additional Efficiencies
Strategy 7.6: Cap University Allocations to Outreach Beginning 2010-11

Penn State, as the Commonwealth’s land-grant university, has long fulfilled a role as the major provider of outreach services to the people of Pennsylvania. This long-standing commitment has continued despite decades of falling state support as a share of the University’s General Funds budget. As state and federal funding for Cooperative Extension has largely stagnated over the past decade and more, reductions in programming have had to occur in order to cover the increased costs of faculty and staff compensation, including fringe benefits. Increasing contributions from county governments have not been able to offset these declines. University funds have also had to cover more of the increasing overhead costs.

Similarly, the wide range of other University-sponsored outreach programs has grown over the past decades to the point at which, overall, Penn State operates the largest unified outreach program in the nation, reaching one out of every two households in the Commonwealth. This has meant growing costs for faculty and staff salaries and benefits of those employed in Outreach, and for growing costs of University overhead on operations, despite the considerable successes that Outreach has had in securing extramural funding for many of its programs.

Given the increasing costs of tuition and living expenses for Penn State students and the associated difficulties of funding their education, along with the declining share of state funding for outreach programming, the University can no longer rely on student tuition to support the internally funded Outreach programs to the extent it has previously. Accordingly, all other Outreach programs centrally supported by E&G funds will be placed on the same financial model as Cooperative Extension, with the University’s contribution to programming capped at the 2009-10 level going forward from that date. That is, increased Outreach salaries and fringe benefits must come from extramural sources, or be taken from the base funding the University will continue to provide, until such time as public funding for the University increases beyond inflationary levels in higher education.

  • President and Budget Task Force—Primary
  • Vice President for Outreach—Primary