For Immediate Release
For more information contact:
Carrie Hillman 717-515-6846
Harrisburg – As the Pennsylvania budget impasse continues, students at the 14 state-owned universities have sent over 3,000 hand-written messages to their representatives in the General Assembly to remind them of the importance of increased funding for PA State System of Higher Education.
Completing postcards about “My Education Matters to Me: Invest in my Future,” the students consistently reminded legislators about raising college costs, increased student debt, the decline in course offerings, and reductions in academic support.
“I am a single mother trying to make a better for myself,” Caitlin at Indiana University of Pennsylvania reminded her legislators, and Sean at Kutztown University bluntly wrote that he would “rather not be drowning in debt.”
In 2011, the State System of Higher Education had its state allocation cut by 18%, and it has not had any funding increases since. In the meanwhile, tuition and fees have increased by 17%, and individual universities are looking at additional increases for their schools. As a direct result of the cuts, the State System has eliminated over 800 permanent positions, and the universities have placed over 150 programs in moratorium.
“It is important that so many students are letting their voices be heard, and it is crucial that our elected representatives know what is at stake as they set their budget priorities,” said Dr. Kenneth M. Mash, President of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF).
“We are all thankful that Governor Wolf has proposed restoring the $90 million in cuts over the next two years, and we think it is very positive that Republican legislators are also looking at increases,” Mash continued. “The universities absolutely need to have the cuts restored so that they may continue to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students who may not otherwise have that opportunity.”
The 14 state universities comprising the State System are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania.