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Delegates at APSCUF’s legislative assembly last week in State College approved two position statements, posted now on the APSCUF website.

Degrees of Value report

The first statement, approved unanimously, regarded the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Degrees of Value report.

“At this point, the purpose of the Degrees of Value document appears to be an indictment of not only the liberal arts majors but also a signal that proposed changes are on the way,” the statement concludes. “The document is a leverage tool. All faculty should familiarize themselves with the report and be prepared to respond.”

Read APSCUF’s complete response, which includes points for faculty members to make when discussing the report with students, by clicking here.

Per-credit tuition

At budget-appropriations hearings last month, legislators in the House and Senate lauded so-called pilot per-credit tuition programs, already implemented at Millersville University and set to begin at Indiana University in the fall.

Rep. Keith J. Greiner said he was impressed with the preliminary data and sees advantages to Millersville University’s program:

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Sen. Lloyd Smucker later called it “very innovative”:

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State System Chancellor Frank T. Brogan said, “We found that it was having either no impact, negative, or positive impact in some of the issues that we reviewed.”

APSCUF faculty and coaches, tasked with providing quality, affordable education for their students, disagree. (So does this IUP parent, in this letter to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)

An overwhelming majority of delegates approved APSCUF’s stance on per-credit tuition.

A bit of background: APSCUF delegates last year unanimously approved a resolution calling for a moratorium on per-credit pilots.

For a student taking 15 hours, a per-credit tuition programs increases the scholar’s tuition by 25 percent. For 18 hours, tuition goes up 50 percent from the previous flat rate.

“These pilot programs come at a time when the average Pennsylvania student already graduates from the State System with over $30,000 in debt,” the 2015 resolution reads. “From a national perspective, Pennsylvania ranks third-highest in student loan debt. Nearly 80 percent of PASSHE students accept some form of financial aid. These tuition increases will place an even greater financial burden on students and their families.”

This year’s position statement succinctly restates APSCUF’s opposition to the programs:

The Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties confirms its opposition to per-credit tuition programs, and we reaffirm that the obligation to adequately fund public higher education rests squarely with the Pennsylvania General Assembly.