What will new money bring to state-owned universities?
Airdate: Tuesday, July 26, 2022
The new budget recently signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf include a $75 million increase in funding for the 14 state-owned universities — the largest budget hike for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher education since its creation in 1983. PASSHE will also get a one-time infusion of $125 million from federal stimulus funds. This comes after funding was cut by 50% in the administration of former Gov. Tom Corbett in 2011 and has slowly increased ever since.
PASSHE Chancellor Dan Greenstein told Smart Talk Tuesday that the funding is absolutely essential to the State System to fulfill its role to ensure that Pennsylvania has enough people who are appropriately employed for today’s jobs.
Pennsylvania’s public universities are the third costliest in the nation to students — even though tuitions have been frozen for the past four years. With room and board and other fees, students pay about $23,000 a year to attend a state-owned university.
Greenstein said “the investment from the state is absolutely critical to helping us contain cost increases.”
One of the major challenges facing the state-owned universities is a declining enrollment. More than 88,000 students attend PASSHE schools compared to a high of over 100,000 a decade ago.
Greenstein pointed to fewer high school students graduating from Pennsylvania high schools as a reason for the decreased numbers.
On Smart Talk, he also said the universities will have to work harder to let traditional would-be college students know the PASSHE schools are an affordable option and also detailed plans to recruit adults who have some college credits but haven’t graduated. Those students, plus “college ready” students who aren’t going to college could make up to a two-thirds could the annual goal of 20,000 new students, according to Greenstein.