– Gov. Tom Corbett today proposed a 2014-15 state appropriation of nearly $412.8 million for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), the same level of funding the System has received in each of the last two years.
PASSHE Board of Governors Chairman Guido M. Pichini and Chancellor Frank T. Brogan released the following statements in response to the governor’s recommended budget, which was presented this morning to a joint session of the state House and Senate:
From PASSHE Board of Governors Chairman Guido M. Pichini:
“While the Governor’s budget reflects the fact that Pennsylvania’s economy continues to recover, it also demonstrates support for our state universities. We will continue to advocate for any additional funding that may become available, especially in support of our special initiative to develop and expand degree programs that meet the commonwealth’s priority needs.
“There are enormous challenges facing the administration and Legislature as they seek to meet the many needs of all of Pennsylvania’s citizens within the available revenues. Our students and their families face those same kinds of challenges every day.
“Likewise, every PASSHE university has become more efficient in its daily operations, and several have had to make extremely difficult personnel decisions to help ensure their long-term viability. Nonetheless, we are dedicated to providing a higher education experience that is high quality and high value.
“I am confident that both the Governor and the Legislature share that primary objective, and we look forward to working with both throughout the budget process.”
From PASSHE Chancellor Frank T. Brogan:
“Having been in my position for a little more than 100 days, I already have learned firsthand how vital our universities are to their communities, their regions and the commonwealth. I look forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to help ensure PASSHE continues to fulfill that important role.
“These are extremely difficult times; we certainly understand that. But, there is no doubt that funds dedicated to education truly are an investment in Pennsylvania’s future, and that the return on that investment is enormous.
“With the new strategic plan just adopted by our Board of Governors, PASSHE is prepared to address many of the significant issues challenging Pennsylvania employers. We are committed to retooling our universities to ensure we are addressing the most critical workforce needs while ensuring our students receive a broad-based education that prepares them for success throughout their lives and many potential career changes.”
Budget hearing next step in process
The next step in the budget process will involve a series of public hearings before the House and Senate Appropriations committees to review the governor’s proposal. PASSHE will appear before both committees on Feb. 20. The House Appropriations Committee hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.; the Senate hearing, for 1 p.m.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with about 112,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and PASSHE Center City in Philadelphia.