State System universities are catalysts for upward social mobility for the whole community, and especially for those underrepresented populations that face social and economic barriers to success.
While State System universities not only provide a personal benefit to their students, they also represent a public good that has a multiplier effect for their community and for the Commonwealth.
Total economic impact of the State System on the Commonwealth during FY 19-20 was $4.0 billion
Each dollar invested by the Commonwealth to one State System university produced an average return of $8.30 in economic impact
Aggregate result of total direct spending in 2022-23 is expected to support approximately 45,940 jobs within the Commonwealth, in addition to the State System employees
Direct spending from FY 2013-14 to FY 2019-20 increased by 2.9 percent
Projected economic impact of the State System during FY 2022-23 is $3.8 billion, excluding impact from capital expenditures
Total impact of Institutional spending projected to increase by 7.6 percent over the period of FY 2019-20 to 2022-23
System Success | Contributions to the State
October 2021 Theme Poster Graphic
The State System’s mission is to provide the most affordable, high quality education possible. Unfortunately, a State System education is drifting beyond the reach of the students we were born to serve. Here’s how much and why costs have increased:
- Over the last decade, the average price students pay to attend a State System university has increased by 33%.
- The proportion of education costs paid by students at 4-year public institutions in Pennsylvania was 71.9% in 2020, ranking Pennsylvania as the 11th highest in the country for percentage of costs borne by students.
- For low- and middle-income families (income less than $110,000), almost 40 cents of every dollar earned goes to paying for a State System education, compared to just 20 cents of every dollar for high-income families.
- The proportion of enrolled students from lower- and middle-income families has declined from 80% in 2011 to 70% in 2019.
- Although Pennsylvania has increased funding for public education in recent years, and federal relief funding has been helpful, the State System’s current state funding, when adjusted for inflation, is only between FY 2010-11 and FY 2011-12 levels.
- A student’s share of cost may continue to rise substantially absent significant recurring state investment.
- State investment can reduce the share of low and middle-income students’ cost of a State System education; an additional $1,000 per student increases retention by 3-4% and also supports increased recruitment and graduation.
- State support is crucial if the State System is to recapture its affordability advantage and bring down costs for State System students.
- The State System’s FY 2022-23 appropriation request of $550 million and at least $201 million in direct funds to students will have measurable benefits including:
- providing a high-quality education at the lowest possible price for those who can least afford it,
- reducing the financial burden on students and their families,
- ensuring students have the resources necessary to complete their degree, and
- improving pathways for community college and nontraditional students to advance toward a bachelor’s degree.
November 2021 Theme Poster Graphic
State System universities know what works to motivate students to successfully navigate their college experience. From emergency financial aid to wraparound student support services and more, university practices help State System students stay in college and complete their degrees at rates that consistently outperform similar institutions. And community college transfer students outperform students who enrolled directly from high school. In the coming decade though, a growing number of jobs within the state will require a bachelor’s degree. To tackle this challenge, bold investment in the System is the surest way to enhance support for students and staff, help drive completion, and meet the state’s educational attainment goals.
- For the 2020-21 academic year, State System universities conferred nearly 24,000 degrees and certificates in high-demand areas like STEM, health, business, and education. Over 760,000 degrees and certificates have been conferred since the inception of the System in 1983.
- As a result of Systemwide goal alignment and comprehensive planning, the State System consistently outperforms national 4-year public institutions with State System 2nd year retention at about 79%.
- State System 6-year graduation rates are also higher than the national 4-year public institution, averaging 60% compared to 51%.
- The average federal student loan 3-year cohort default rate for State System students is currently 5.8% compared to the national public 4-year at 5.4% with the national 4-year at 7.3%.
- On average, first-time State System students are covering almost 40% of their annual costs (tuition, fees, room, and board) through student loans (federal and private loans).#160;
- Students transferring into a State System university from a Pennsylvania community college continues to be 12% of the new student population even during declining enrollment.#160;
- Transfer students persist at State System universities at a higher rate than non-transfer students. In Fall 2021, the second-year persistence rate for transfer students was 5.2 percentage points higher than for non-transfers.
- Pennsylvania is experiencing a chronic and severe “talent gap” that is starving employers of the educated workforce they need to remain competitive in Pennsylvania.
- Today 60% of Pennsylvania jobs require workers with some higher education, while only 50.7% of Pennsylvania adults have some higher education.
- The talent gap exists across economic sectors: from trades and services through health care, agribusiness, financial services, IT, advanced manufacturing, energy, education, and other areas.
- The talent gap is growing: between 2020 and 2030 the Commonwealth will need to close the gap and award 5.5% more associate’s degrees, 8.1% more bachelor’s degrees, 15.7% more master’s degrees, 6%more doctoral degrees, and 4% more postsecondary nondegree credentials.
- For State System universities to contribute their current share of credentials toward closing the state’s talent gap, they will need to annually award 2,000 more bachelor’s degrees and 1,200 more master’s degrees. (As of 2019-20, they awarded just over 17,000 bachelor’s and 5,000 master’s annually.)
- Unless the talent gap is filled (which can only be achieved by improving the educational attainment level of low- and middle-income, underrepresented, and adult workers) the Commonwealth will be unable to fill the jobs necessary for economic growth.
December 2021 Theme Poster Graphic