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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 11, 2011

For further information contact Kevin Kodish at 800-932-0587, ext. 3020

HARRISBURG – The president of the association representing 6,000 faculty members and coaches at Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities called the 2011-12 House budget a step in the right direction, but he also indicated the universities require full restoration of funds in order to live up to their mission – offering a high quality education at a reasonable cost.

“While I am pleased to see that the House bill significantly supplements Governor Corbett’s proposal, it still represents a significant cut ($76 million) for our institutions,” State APSCUF President Steve Hicks said. “In order to continue to provide a quality education for our students, the State System’s entire appropriation must be restored.
In recent weeks, various legislative leaders have made the case for restoration, and we encourage them to continue to fight for Pennsylvania’s working families. The surplus provides an opportunity for the state to fully fund its commitment to public higher education.

“Our universities continue to be good stewards of public resources, and the State System has kept tuition increases below inflation for four of the last six years. Repeated state cuts and low tuition has already led to program cuts, class size increases, and faculty layoffs. Our universities cannot sustain any sizeable cut and continue to provide students with the education they deserve.”

With state spending per student declining over $2,000 in recent years, State System universities have had to scramble to meet the demands of record enrollment. The universities face financial difficulty without any cut; a 15 percent cut would have devastating consequences.

“University efficiency is at its maximum,” Hicks said. “We cannot jeopardize the future of the Commonwealth, which will require a highly educated workforce. Full restoration would benefit all citizens.”

“Our universities are major economic engines for the Commonwealth. Ninety percent of our students are Pennsylvania residents, and over seventy percent of our graduates stay in the state,” Hicks noted. “Our students are Pennsylvania’s future leaders. “Pennsylvania’s future depends on its continued commitment to public higher education.”

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