June 9, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact:
Kathryn Morton, firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-236-7486
Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and Keystone Research Center released a second report about the state-owned universities that comprise Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. In response, Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash released the following statement:
“It could not be clearer that a college education and a shot at achieving the American Dream are slipping away from students from working-class families. PBPC’s first report established what my colleagues and I already knew: Our universities clearly succeed at helping students achieve the dream of upward mobility. The latest report convincingly chronicles how both the lack of adequate state support for public higher education and campus decisions leading to increases in student housing costs have made college increasingly unaffordable.
“A false and disturbing narrative portraying our universities as ‘failing’ has permeated the public discourse. One can only buy into that narrative if one thinks it is acceptable for Pennsylvania to rank 47th out of 50 states in per-capita higher-education funding. One can buy into that narrative only if one believes it is acceptable for total college costs to have risen by 63 percent since 2000. One can buy into that narrative only if they believe it is acceptable for total college costs to have gone from one-fifth of median family income to 35 percent. A more believable narrative would simply state that the Commonwealth is failing to provide the opportunity for a high-quality higher education at an affordable cost.
“Students who desire to improve their lives ought not have to decide between crippling debt and attending college. They should never be in a position to have to choose between food and textbooks. To those who point to declining enrollments at our universities, I ask, ‘What would those enrollments be if college were as affordable now as it was when you went to college?’
“We remain appreciative of the bipartisan efforts by Gov. Tom Wolf and members of the legislature to increase the State System’s allocation — despite difficult budgets — this year and during the previous two years. However, as we move into the next year, we must all pause to consider what we are doing to our Commonwealth’s future.”