Thursday, April 9, 2015

State Owned Universities Agree to Tuition Freeze

At the request of state Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, the 20-member board charged with setting tuition rates for Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities today agreed to a general tuition freeze for the 2015-16 school year in exchange for a restoration of state funding.

Hanna is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education Board of Governors, which voted on his motion to commit to the tuition freeze during its regular quarterly meeting.

According to Hanna, Gov. Tom Wolf is seeking to restore the massive higher education cuts made by former Gov. Corbett in 2011-12. Wolf’s proposal commits $45.3 million in additional state funding for PASSHE schools in the 2015-16 budget but is asking the board to freeze tuition for the upcoming school year in exchange for those funds. Wolf’s plan is to completely restore the funding from Corbett’s cuts by the end of his second budget.

“As a member of the legislature since 1991 and a PASSHE board member since 2004, I am always seeking ways to keep our outstanding state-system universities affordable for Pennsylvania’s middle-class families and all students who want to attend them,” Hanna said. “The majority of our board has that same desire and chose today to put its faith in the General Assembly and Governor Wolf to restore the state funds that Corbett took from our students.

“I plan to work vigorously over the next few months to convince my colleagues in the House and Senate that PASSHE students and families deserve both the guarantee of a tuition freeze and adequate state funding.”

The PASSHE board generally does not set tuition rates until after the state budget is finalized. The in-state tuition rate for a state-owned university for the 2014-15 school year is $6,820. Hanna said the board tried to keep tuition increases low following Corbett’s cuts, but schools could not overcome Corbett’s more than $90 million cut to PASSHE schools in his first budget. Tuition increased by $1,016 during Corbett’s 4-year term.

Lawmakers are expected to finalize a budget by June 30.

Information posted from Press Release from Rep. Hanna's office


Statement from Governor Tom Wolfe

“I applaud the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors for agreeing to freeze tuition at all 14 state-owned universities. This decision is contingent upon passage of my proposed 2015-16 budget that provides a $45.3 million increase to the system. Students have borne the brunt of massive cuts over the last four years and today’s action is an important step in giving them a break from constantly rising college costs. I am hopeful that the legislature will step up and deliver on this investment in higher education so we can ensure we are training graduates with the skills they need to compete in a modern economy and helping middle-class families.”

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