Earlier today, Governor Wolf gave his first budget address outlining his fiscal plan for the Commonwealth. APSCUF President, Dr. Kenneth M. Mash, is issuing the following response:
“In 2011, the previous administration cut funding to the State System of Higher Education by $90 million and provided no additional money the last three years. All Pennsylvanians should feel proud to have a Governor who understands the value of public higher education, and we fully support his plan to completely restore funding over two years.
“Restoring the full $90 million for the State System in the first year would have been challenging given the economic climate in Pennsylvania, and it is understandable that an increase must be incremental.
“As a result of the budget cuts, Pennsylvania fell to 49th in higher education funding, there are 270 fewer full-time faculty at the state-owned universities, and universities have discontinued over 90 programs. All Pennsylvanians will benefit from reinvestment in our students and our universities.
“The State System’s impact on the Commonwealth’s economy is substantial. Nearly 90 percent of students are from Pennsylvania, most are from lower or middle income families, and many are first-generation students. Upon graduation, 80 percent of State System students remain here in Pennsylvania where they obtain jobs, pay taxes, and contribute to the economy.
“Our professors and coaches hope that the Governor and the members of the General Assembly will work together to ensure a strong path to full restoration so that our students and generations to come will have access to high-quality public higher education at an affordable cost.”