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"Keep in mind we are not only dealing with the crisis we're still going through, but we're dealing with a tough economic environment still," Kirsch said. "In that context, I'm not real surprised, but I'm very grateful for" the donations.
Separately, Penn State reported $223 million in new donation commitments, down 37 percent from the previous year. Kirsch said that was expected given the size of Pegula's gift, and a big fundraising push by the school related to that donation.
The latest fundraising figures were released against the backdrop of a decline in recent years in state funding, which is used to help offset tuition for in-state residents. Penn State trustees are expected to vote on a potential tuition increase at their next meeting Friday in Scranton.
Kirsch said raising money for undergraduate scholarships remained a top priority to keep Penn State affordable. Last year, in-state freshmen and sophomores paid more than $15,000 a year in tuition to attend the main campus in State College, while out-of-state residents paid $27,000.
The school is seeking to raise more money to support faculty. Penn State said it has also raised more than $46 million from current or former faculty and staff, or $3 million more than its initial goal.
That total would include donations made by the Paterno family, such as the annual $100,000 gift in December, a month after Paterno was fired, for the library and an undergraduate fellow program that bears the family name. Paterno died in January of lung cancer at age 85.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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