“In 2011 the State System’s appropriation was cut by $90 million. For the past two years we’ve seen flat-funding and minimal tuition increases. Now our universities are facing financial difficulties, and they are choosing to cut programs, faculty, and staff at the expense of our students’ education,” said Dr. Steve Hicks, president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF).
Seven of the state-owned universities have indicated that faculty layoffs are possible, and three have announced plans to lay off faculty and staff. It is the largest number of proposed layoffs in the 30-year history of the State System.
“Because of declining state support, our students and their families have been forced to take on significant debt to afford college. They are paying more, but getting less. The restoration of state funding will help our universities preserve and maintain quality public higher education for the Commonwealth’s students,” Hicks stated.
Tuition and average fees now make up 17 percent of the median family income in Pennsylvania and the state currently ranks 2nd in the nation in the amount of student debt.
“We are grateful that so many legislators have joined us in the call for state support,” Hicks said. “State funding is essential for our students to continue to have access to an affordable, high quality education and the faculty who provide it.”
Over the past several years the State System universities have increased class sizes, reduced course offerings, and eliminated over 130 academic programs.
“Our universities are distinct, but they share a common vision to provide Pennsylvania’s students with a comprehensive education,” Hicks noted. “Students at all fourteen deserve to have access to a variety of programs, including philosophy, music, and foreign languages. We ask the legislature to support our public universities and ensure that current and future students receive a quality education.”