President Eric Barron will be joined by Governor Tom Wolf for his monthly WPSU Penn State show, “Higher Education in Focus.” The conversation between the two executives will focus on a number of topics, including Penn State’s role in the state’s economy, as well as Wolf’s proposed budget and how it pertains to higher education.
The discussion of Wolf’s budget fits perfectly into the show’s focus on higher education — the Pennsylvania Governor proposed a $1 billion investment in education for 2015-16. Penn State was allocated $282.5 million of that amount, which is a 22 percent increase from last year. Though Wolf’s proposal would mean increased funding for the university, it also means an increased tax on things like meal plans and textbooks, which would ultimately leave most students paying more. However, Wolf’s proposed budget shows his dedication to the restoration of university funding, a task which involves a plan to return all of the previous cuts to higher education’s budget over the next two years.
With the size of Penn State and the resources it has to offer, part of the discussion will touch on the important role the university can play in driving economic development, job creation in Pennsylvania, and efforts to improve access to and affordability of higher education.
Part of how Penn State hopes to do this is through President Barron’s Invent Penn State initiative, a $30 million investment that looks to turn good ideas into useful products. In pairing students’ ideas with the resources of investors, the initiative hopes to foster an environment that will reward entrepreneurship and allow the university to create an economic impact throughout the state. Invent Penn State was the topic of both the February and March episodes, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if it popped up again today.
The show will be aired tomorrow night at 9 p.m. on WPSU-TV and at wpsu.org. Past guests include Athletic Director Sandy Barbour, Penn State professor Tom Hogan, and Lunar Lion team members. Previous discussions touched on everything from civility to sustainability and you can watch old episodes online.