Thursday, March 5, 2015

Investing for the Future

Pennsylvania is at a crossroad as we enter the time of year when decisions will be made regarding how to invest the public’s hard-earned money. Governor Wolf’s support of higher education rang loud and clear this week with his proposal to increase investment in the State System’s 14 universities by 11 percent. This is welcome news after seven years without an increase in state funding.

We all recognize the important role our universities have in providing access to opportunity for 110,000 students. Our state universities are engines of economic development for the communities they serve and the entire Commonwealth—providing the talent that fuels business and industry across Pennsylvania.

Providing a high-quality, high-value education has always been the mission of the State System. Even as it has endured significant budget cuts for much of the past decade, we have limited tuition increases to around the rate of inflation in most years.

The Governor has challenged publicly supported colleges and universities to hold the line on tuition. We are answering that call. The Board of Governors said in October that base tuition could be frozen next year if the State System received enough funding to fill next year’s budget gap. That continues to be our position, and we are grateful for the Governor’s leadership on this issue.

We are engaged in this important dialogue with the Governor and our friends in the General Assembly as they begin their work on the budget, which will not be an easy task. Our students are a great investment, and every tax dollar allocated toward our universities provides a real return on investment.