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Statement in response to lawsuit filed today in federal court in Philadelphia


By:  
Kenn Marshall, (717) 720-4054 or (717) 329-0809
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 
​From State System Spokesman Kenn Marshall:
 
“It is our practice not to comment specifically on ongoing ligation.
 
“Cheyney University’s role within Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education and the Commonwealth is important. Our collective goal is to ensure that every student who attends the university receives a high-quality educational experience.
 
“The State System as a whole—including the Office of the Chancellor, the Board of Governors, Cheyney University’s Council of Trustees, and university leadership—is focused on Cheyney’s future. We have been working closely together to identify and address the opportunities and challenges facing the university, especially those that have a direct impact on students.
 
“As an example, the university is developing a new academic plan that will ensure students have access to relevant programs that will help prepare them for success in their lives and careers. Staff from the chancellor’s office also has been providing on-campus support to the university throughout the fall semester to assist in the reconciling of financial aid records to ensure students receive all of the financial assistance to which they are entitled.
 
“As part of a longer-term plan, we are identifying other areas for enhancement within the university such as the university’s business and student support services; facilities (including student housing); and technology infrastructure, among others.”
 
Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with about 110,000 students. The 14 State System universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study.
 
The universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. The universities also operate branch campuses in Oil City (Clarion), Freeport and Punxsutawney (IUP) and Clearfield (Lock Haven), and offer classes and programs at several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and in Center City in Philadelphia.
 
Facts about Cheyney University:
 
• Cheyney receives the highest amount of funding per student at any of the State System universities for its general operations, as well as the largest amount of capital funding provided to any of the universities in recent years.
 
• The amount of state appropriation provided per student at Cheyney University is more than three times the State System average—$14,145 per Cheyney student compared to a System average of $4,529 per student. The percentage of the educational and general budget paid with state funds is significantly higher at Cheyney than at any other State System university.
 
• Cheyney’s base funding last year was approximately $750,000 higher than it was a decade ago—an increase of more than 6 percent. At the same time, the 14 State System universities combined received approximately $37 million less in base funding from the state than they did in 2004-05—a drop of nearly 9 percent.
 
• Since 2008, a total of $97 million in capital funds has been provided to Cheyney for the construction of a new residence hall, new science center and new wastewater treatment plant and the renovation of Humphries and Browne halls. That is at least $20 million more than any other university has received and more than twice the average provided all State System universities during that time.
 
• Since 2007, the State System has provided almost $10 million to Cheyney in addition to its base funding to supplement the university’s operating budget.
 
• Since the summer of 2008, the State System has provided an additional $2.5 million in consulting services and support staff when requested by the university to provide assistance in the areas of fiscal management, capital projects, human resources and student financial aid.
 
• More than $20 million in scholarships—approximately $1.2 million a year—have been awarded to high-achieving Cheyney students who are selected for the Keystone Honors Academy. Students in this program have a significantly higher retention and graduation rate than their peers nationally.