Joanne C. DiRinaldo, Ballot Position No. 28
Read DiRinaldo’s official bio and position statement here (PDF download).
Answers to Questions
1. In view of sharply declining state appropriations, what steps should Penn State be taking to secure its financial future?
WIth Governor Corbett’s proposed budget cut plan by 20% to the state system of higher education, Penn State will either have to reduce expenses, increase tuition or take more out of the endowment. Endowments have historically been used to fund research and not for the taking care of business, “teaching students.” Let’s take a closer look at Penn State’s approximately $2B endowment fund. Additionally, there needs to be an equitable plan implemented by assessing our current academic and administrative units with across the board budget reduction and freezing employee salary increases. A major reduction should include scaling back on major maintenance and capital improvements.
2. The rising cost of tuition nationally is making college less affordable for many students. Outline the steps you believe Penn State should be taking to address the issue.
PSU has the highest in-state tuition rates for a public institution. At an alarming rate we are increasing our serviceable debt and our administrative and operating costs , while our available funding is decreasing. I propose the following initiatives:
- expanding scholarship opportunities for students;
- strengthening online course offerings;
- expanding internship programs and overseas opportunities by leveraging industry funding;
- streamlining and facilitating open communication between University Park and the satellite campuses;
- maintaining a successful Penn State education accessible to all students; “having a college education without going away from home”
- establishing more research opportunities for undergraduate students to work with faculty
3. What form should Penn State’s land-grant mission take in the 21st century?
Penn State as a land-grant institution maintains a commitment to provide educational opportunities for a broader range of students, including those with the most financial need. The university is considered “state-related” because it gets about 6 percent of its $4.1 billion budget from the state, but operates independently. I would like to see Penn State maintain this hybrid model as we continue to leverage modest state support of billions of dollars into great economic impact reflected in the tens of thousands of jobs for Pennsylvanians, and lower in-state tuition which is at a fraction of the cost of private schools. Penn State ranks among the top-fifteen public universities nationally, while maintaining a reputation of a “public ivy league” university. Our goal needs to be the continued enhancement of Penn State University’s highly successful traditions in teaching, research and service. We must constructively and creatively handle the realities of fiscal challenge while providing an education that creates a competitive edge for our graduates.