– Students from all 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities will spend several hours in the state Capitol Tuesday, meeting with legislators to talk about their college experiences and how important the education they are receiving is to them, to their families, and to the future of the Commonwealth.
About 50 students will be accompanied by university presidents, administrators, trustees and alumni in meetings with representatives and senators. Many of those with whom the groups will meet either have a PASSHE university in their district or are PASSHE alumni themselves. About one-fourth of the General Assembly falls into one of those two categories.
“There are no better ambassadors for PASSHE and our universities than our students,” said Chancellor Frank T. Brogan. “They can talk about their educational experiences in a way no one else can. And in many cases, the legislators they will be meeting with understand exactly what they are saying because they went to the same schools. It’s a valuable connection, and a valuable learning experience, from both perspectives.”
The visits to the Capitol have become an annual event in an effort to garner continued support for higher education as in investment in the state’s economic future.
“Nearly 90 percent of our students are from Pennsylvania; about 80 percent of our graduates stay here to begin their careers,” Mr. Brogan said. “Those are amazing numbers, and demonstrate just how important the State System is to Pennsylvania’s future.”
PASSHE is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, enrolling about 112,000 students combined. About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in the Commonwealth.
PASSHE universities also provide the lowest-cost four-year degree programs in the Commonwealth. The average total cost of attendance at a PASSHE university—tuition, fees, room and board—is several hundred dollars below the average among all four-year colleges and universities in the United States, and about $2,500 below the average in the Middle States region, which comprises Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., according to the latest College Board Survey.
The vast majority of the universities’ academic programs are accredited by professional organizations nationally, and many are ranked among the best in the United States by a variety of sources. The universities work closely with employers in their regions to ensure their programs are meeting evolving workforce needs. Recently introduced programs have focused on high-tech industries, including computer software design; international studies; business administration; and healthcare, including nursing.
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.