PA Universities Respond To Corbett’s Budget Cuts
In the wake of Governor Corbett’s proposed budget cuts for universities across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, education leaders have made statements voicing concerns that their schools will be put under pressure to make additional cuts to their already lean programs.
Penn State’s own Rodney Erickson released a statement through Penn State Live saying that the university “appreciate[s] the financial pressure on the Commonwealth in identifying resources, and trust[s] the state understands the consequences of continuing cuts of this magnitude.” He hopes that the budget cuts will not bring on “an undue hardship on Penn State families.” At the end of his statement, Erickson reiterated that he hopes Penn State’s partnership with the state will continue, squashing any immediate thoughts that the university might decide to become private.
The other state universities having their budgets cut by 30% are Temple University and the University of Pittsburgh. Temple President Ann Weaver Hart relayed the fear that families of students at the university, as well as employees, will feel the effects of these cuts, presumably through tuition hikes and pay freezes, and that they should all contact their local legislators and rally support to change the budget. Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg analyzed the budget cuts and showed that proposed appropriations would reach 1980s levels, and that when adjusted for inflation, the funding would be the lowest that Pitt as seen since it became a state-related university.
Lincoln University is the final state-related university, but they did not see a reduction or increase in their general funding.
Finally, the 14 universities that fall under PASSHE (Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education) came out with a statement after they found out about their proposed 20% funding cuts in the new budget. They did not use the same strong language that some of the state-related universities used, agreeing with much of what Governor Corbett said about higher education being important and his idea that everyone should be able to afford college. The PASSHE schools added that they “look forward to working with the General Assembly and the governor during the upcoming budget process. Our budget hearings will provide the opportunity to discuss the successes we have had in cost control and reduction, as well as the impact of the proposed cuts.”
PASSHE, the leaders of the state-related institutions, and education/business leaders will be involved with the Governor’s Higher Education Advisory Panel which will convene to figure out ways to come up with a “strategic plan for higher education in the Commonwealth.” Ideas are to be brought to the attention of the panel by November 15, 2012.
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