University Capital Plan

Note: This page refers to the 2018-2023 University Capital Plan. The 2024-2028 Capital Plan was approved by the Penn State Board of Trustees on May 5, 2023. Information on the 2024-2028 Capital Plan can be found here. 


Penn State's Five-Year Capital Plan - 2018-2023

Penn State's $3.8 billion capital plan, approved by the Board of Trustees on Sept. 15, 2017 and last updated on Nov. 12, 2020, advances critical investments into aging infrastructure and future needs across the University.

The basic strategic philosophy behind the 2018-2023 Capital Plan is addressing the significant backlog of deferred maintenance. Other factors driving priorities include functional obsolescence, program impact, accreditation requirements, and more. With far more need than resources, it's a difficult job prioritizing those major investments. Two-thirds of the plan focuses on renewing existing investments with an allowance for program growth, and an eye towards delivering whole building and whole systems renewal.

Deferred maintenance is a critical component we consider when establishing capital priorities - a significant piece! Our priorities are determined by assessing deferred maintenance, functional obselescence, program impact, and other strategic considerations.
What's included? Table of buildings with cost per square foot of deferred maintenance.

PLEASE NOTE, this five-year Capital Plan is a living document intended to serve as a guide to help us prioritize projects and accommodate emerging strategic needs. Individual projects are approved once they have gone through the Board of Trustees approval process. 

Allocation Distribution

The capital budget provides funding for facility, capital equipment and information technology investments. It is completely separate from the University’s operating budget, which pays for the day-to-day operating costs of the University as it conducts its mission of teaching, research and outreach.

The 2018-2023 plan authorizes a total of $3.8 billion in spending over five years. Of this total, $2.0 billion would be allocated from the University’s education and general fund, primarily for repairs, updates and construction on classroom and program space at University Park and Commonwealth campuses. Potential funding sources for education and general projects include state capital funds, tuition and fees, philanthropy and others. 

The College of Medicine and other self-supporting units, including Auxiliary and Business Services, Intercollegiate Athletics and the Applied Research Laboratory,  will fund the remaining $1.8 billion for projects within their areas. Tuition dollars are not used as  a funding source for these projects.

Capital Funding Uses

“The 2018-19 to 2022-23 capital plan proposal represents critical and necessary investment in current and future students, faculty and staff,” said David Gray, senior vice president for Finance and Business. At University Park, 65 percent of education and general buildings are more than 25 years old, and 40 percent are more than 50 years old. Many have seen no significant renovations leaving the facilities and their systems in need of repair or replacement.

Campus Renovation Age Profile. Graph illustrates differences in age profile of buildings at University Park versus Commonwealth Campuses.

The guiding principles for the expenditure of these funds will focus on support of strong academic programs where investments are needed to ensure continued quality, and on programs with strategic importance, for example the College of Engineering, the physical sciences and anthropology. We focused funding for system renewals, such as outdated heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, to correct the worst conditions.

The plan covers a variety of projects across the Commonwealth, such as major system maintenance; investment in information technology infrastructure; construction of new facilities; and renewal of existing buildings. Education and General, major initiatives (in millions)Education and General, major initiatives (in millions)Self-Supporting Units Major Initiatives (in millions)

Self-supporting units, major initiatives (in millions)