October 19, 2023

PASSHE Requests Additional State Funding to Enable Another Tuition Freeze and to Invest in Students

Contact: Kevin Hensil, khensil@passhe.edu

Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) is seeking a state funding increase for 2024-25 that would enable the Board of Governors to freeze tuition for a sixth consecutive year at all state-owned public universities as the System seeks to scale up innovations that keep costs down for students and help them make progress toward a degree.  
The PASSHE Board of Governors unanimously voted on Oct. 19 to request a state appropriation of $623.7 million—an increase of $38.1 million (or 6.5%)—for the 2024-25 fiscal year. The investment would help to address rising inflation and other costs while supporting the system’s commitment to enhance student success through efforts such as academic program and course sharing, holistic advising, student health and wellness supports, and enabling students to secure valuable credentials along the way to earning their degree.   
“The State System has kept tuition the same for six years thanks to increased investments from the General Assembly and governor, and we are thankful for that support. This funding request delivers a clear message that student affordability remains a Board of Governors priority,” said Cynthia Shapira, chair of the PASSHE Board of Governors. “State support is a critical investment in Pennsylvania’s future. The funding would enable us to freeze tuition again so students can focus on preparing for in-demand jobs and enable the State System to expand innovations that better serve students and meet workforce needs.”  
With more than 80,000 students across the system, PASSHE universities serve more Pennsylvanians than any other college or university in the state.  
“We are extremely proud that our partnership with the state is delivering results for thousands of students and for the commonwealth,” said PASSHE Chancellor Dan Greenstein. “What students and employers need from universities is changing with remarkable speed, and I’m proud of the innovations and strategies our universities are pursuing to meet those needs. Continued state investment in our state-owned universities is making a real difference.” 
State System universities are a major contributor to Pennsylvania’s workforce and align academic programs to the needs of local communities and employers. Today, 82% of recent PASSHE graduates working in Pennsylvania majored in high-priority programs (healthcare, STEM, business, education and social services). All of those jobs are important to Pennsylvania’s future and are part of the foundation for local workforces and the statewide economy.  
“State System universities provide the best return on investment for the state by preparing students for in-demand careers at the lowest price,” said Greenstein. “Many of our students come from low- and middle-income families, and they depend on PASSHE universities. What’s more, the future of Pennsylvania’s workforce depends on more of these students having the opportunity to get a comprehensive education and specific skills necessary for good jobs and long careers in the state.” 
Cost savings, state funding, and tuition rates impact enrollment 
In addition to seeking continued investment by the state, PASSHE universities have taken significant steps to help Pennsylvanians afford college by cutting operational costs by more than $300 million—thus helping to keep tuition lower—and by providing students with $125 million in university-funded financial aid this year. These efforts to keep tuition lower are delivering results for the state with more students and families able to afford to pursue a degree or short-term credential. Fall enrollment of freshman at State System universities increased for the second consecutive year, up 3.4% this Fall and up 10% compared to Fall 2021.    
Annual Accountability and Transparency Report 
As part of PASSHE’s annual funding request, the State System releases an extensive accountability and transparency report each year. This document is part of the State System’s commitment to transparency with the General Assembly, Governor Shapiro and the public. More than 100 pages in length, the report details enrollment trends, student affordability, student progression and graduation rates, university financial status and the State System’s contribution to Pennsylvania.   
As it does each year, the State System will make its annual accountability report publicly available online prior to budget hearings held by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.   
State System highlights: 
  • Nearly 90% of students are from Pennsylvania.  
  • Over 35% of students have family incomes of $48,000 or less. 
  • 1 in 3 students receive federal Pell Grants for those with exceptional financial need. 
  • 82% of recent PASSHE graduates working in Pennsylvania majored in high-priority programs (healthcare, STEM, business, education and social services). 
  • State System universities guarantee admission to transfer students with associate degrees from Pennsylvania community colleges. 
  • College graduates earn $866,144 more over their careers than those without a degree. 
  • State System universities contribute $4 billion in economic impact to Pennsylvania and are principal employers in their region.