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Short-sighted Proposed Tomlinson-Dinniman Bill Allowing Select State Universities To Leave The PASSHE System May Nearly Triple Tuition and Eliminate State Oversight at Those Schools

For More Information Contact Joe Lyons at , 717-236-7486 x3020

Steve Hicks, President of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) said today that proposed legislation from State Senators Tommy Tomlinson and Andrew Dinniman allowing Pennsylvania state universities to leave the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) is short-sighted and would hurt students and taxpayers by potentially tripling tuition and eliminating state oversight and accountability.

The proposed Tomlinson-Dinniman Bill would allow select Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) members to leave the state university system and become state-related institutions like Penn State and/or the University of Pittsburgh. Universities that leave PASSHE to pursue state-related status would be freed to raise tuitions at will and would no longer see the benefit of participating in PASSHE shared services.

“When the state university system was created with Act 188 of 1983, the legislature envisioned a system of universities accountable to the citizens of Pennsylvania,” Hicks said. PASSHE universities give first-generation and working class students a shot at a college degree.

Universities opting out under the legislation would keep the exact same amount of taxpayer dollars as they received as State-owned universities despite being less accountable and more expensive. Students at a university leaving PASSHE could see an affordable $6,622 annual tuition balloon to at least Penn State-sized proportions in excess of $17,000.

Hicks also questioned the proposal’s intent to remove state oversight and accountability at institutions that exit the state system by allowing the universities to continue to receive state funds at their current levels without having to follow the rules governing state system schools.

This legislation allows the universities to turn their backs on the core mission of the State System of Higher Education and the students it serves to provide access to a quality public higher education to the average Pennsylvanian,” said Hicks. “This legislation will funnel taxpayer money to institutions that don’t have to answer to the taxpayers. That may be politics as usual, but it is not in the interests of our students or the commonwealth.”

Hicks also pointed to the squeeze the proposal would place on the wallets of Pennsylvanians. “Becoming a State-related will come with skyrocketing tuition,” said Hicks. “Moreover, PASSHE has already been cut by $90 million in recent years. This proposal further cuts into the System to subsidize universities leaving and raising tuition. PASSHE universities should continue to give first-generation and working class students a shot at a college degree.