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Barely two days after commenting on the #StudentSelloutAct (SB1275) proposed by Senators Tomlinson and Dinniman, APSCUF President Steve Hicks discussed the role higher education plays in economic development with members of the House Democratic Policy Committee.

Among the positive factors Hicks stressed to the committee were:

  • PASSHE is the 15th largest employer in the Commonwealth; employing nearly 12,800 people statewide.
  • Many PASSHE universities are among the largest employers in their counties and regions.
  • PASSHE campuses support 41,000 additional ancillary jobs and generate a total annual economic output for the Commonwealth of $3.7 billion.
  • A 2013 Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) survey of private and non-profit executives found that 95 percent gave hiring preference to college graduates.
  • More importantly, 93 percent agreed that an employee’s ability to think critically and solve complex problem was more important than a specific major or technical expertise — something that runs counter to the recent hyper-focus on vocational training.

This is a slightly different tune than that sung by Tomlinson and Dinniman while introducing the “Student Sellout Act” on Tuesday. During their press conference, Tomlison and Dinniman depicted PASSHE universities as failing financially with the only savior being pulling select universities from the system and allowing them to realize “state-related” status like Penn State, Pitt and Temple.

The #StudentSelloutAct “remedy” was been panned by APSCUF, the Coalition for Labor Engagement and Accountable Revenue (CLEAR), Rep. Michael Hanna, Senators Yudichak and Wozniak, and even Governor Corbett.