Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Chancellor Dan Greenstein will discuss the state-owned public university system’s state funding request during the House Appropriations Committee budget hearing today. PASSHE’s Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing is March 30.

The State System is seeking $573.5 million, an inflationary increase of 3.8% ($21 million) and $112 million in new funding for targeted student support​, which together would enable the Board of Governors to consider freezing the basic in-state undergraduate tuition rate for an unprecedented fifth consecutive year. This necessary package would provide PASSHE universities the investment they need to deliver their mission as the commonwealth’s public higher education option.

The $112 million would strategically strengthen the workforce by enrolling and graduating more PASSHE students prepared for careers with significant labor shortages (teaching, nursing, physician assistants, social services, business and STEM fields, including computer science and engineering). 

Nearly all the $112 million investment, $99 million, would be used for student financial aid to lower the price to attend a PASSHE university. While PASSHE universities offer the most affordable four-year option in Pennsylvania, many middle- and low-income students cannot afford higher education, which is a major contributor to labor shortages. 

“PASSHE is proud of our partnership with the General Assembly, which allows us to provide a high-quality education at the lowest possible cost to students,” said Chancellor Greenstein. “This budget request is designed to strengthen the pipeline from the classroom to the workforce by helping more Pennsylvanians to afford college so they gain the knowledge and skills for in-demand, high-growth jobs. 

“Across Pennsylvania, communities need more healthcare workers to provide care, teachers to educate our children, engineers to improve our infrastructure, social workers to improve lives, and computer scientists to enhance and secure our digital world. Those needs match PASSHE’s strengths, and we’re ready to partner with the state to propel students into rewarding jobs that provide economic security for families and meet the needs of the marketplace.”

Pennsylvania’s workforce has a critical education gap: 60% of jobs require some higher education after high school, but only 51% of workers have it. Employers will not have the workers they need— and the products and services everyone relies on— unless more middle- and low-income students can afford to go to college to get the skills gained from a degree or short-term credential program. There are not enough students who can afford the education needed for those jobs. 

The Power of PASSHE
PASSHE universities have a vital role in their communities. The universities contribute $4 billion in economic impact to Pennsylvania and are principal employers in their regions. Most importantly, the regions rely upon the universities to train the next generation of teachers, health care workers, STEM and law enforcement professionals, and business and community leaders. 

PASSHE Highlights:
  • PASSHE universities offer the most affordable four-year higher education option for Pennsylvania students.
  • Universities coordinate with the private sector to align academic programs to marketplace need.
  • Basic in-state undergraduate tuition has been flat at $7,716 for five consecutive years, saving students more than $80 million. 
  • Students receive $110 million in financial aid from university funds 
  • Cost efficiencies have saved more than $300 million.
  • Pennsylvania is 47th in the nation for state funding per student in four-year public universities.

State System student highlights:
  • Nearly 90% are from Pennsylvania, 33% are the first members of their family to go to college and 22% attend part time.
  • Graduates earn $866,144 more over their careers than those without a degree.
  • Freshman enrollment increased in Fall 2022, reversing a downward trend in enrollment.
  • Business, STEM, healthcare and education are the most enrolled programs in the System.
  • For more information about the State System’s plan to address labor shortages in the six high-growth fields of education, nursing, computer science, engineering, social services and business, or to see a budget request summary, visit the Advocacy Resource Center.

Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) is the public university system of the commonwealth with a mission to provide a high-quality education at the lowest possible cost to students. With 90% of its students from Pennsylvania, PASSHE educates approximately 85,000 degree-seeking students, with thousands more in certificate and career programs. The universities collectively offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas. Across the System, there are more than 800,000 living alumni, most of whom live in Pennsylvania.
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