Late Sunday evening Governor Tom Corbett signed House Bill 1437, the $28.37 billion General Fund appropriations bill for FY2013-14.
This year’s budget gives the State System exactly the same money as last year — $413 million. After a tuition increase next week (there’ll be SOME kind of increase — PASSHE indicated they needed a 2.8 percent appropriation increase to maintain a “carry” budget for ’13-’14, making a zero increase damaging), the state portion of the PASSHE budget will run perilously close to only 25 percent.
As you have probably heard, none of the other policy linkages the governor requested came to fruition: the two chambers could not come to agreement on pension changes, liquor privatization, or funding for transportation.
As you all recognize, the state’s portion is only one step of the budgetary (income) process for PASSHE: step two is next week (July 8 & 9) when the Board of Governors sets tuition. You will recall that before his budget address Governor Corbett held a press conference with “higher education leaders” (Board Chair Guido Pichini represented PASSHE) announcing that he would propose flat funding for Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities in exchange for a promise to keep tuition “as low as possible.” Temple has already announced a 2.8 percent increase.
We will be advocating for as small an increase as possible, knowing both that our students already carry one of the heaviest student loan burdens in the country and that no tuition increase will leave several institutions unable to maintain the quality education they have been offering.