Plan could provide tuition for students

The Keystone Research Center and Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center have created a policy proposal for a free tuition college plan for Pennsylvania students.

The proposal is to provide affordable post-secondary education in Pennsylvania to keep its economy and living standards up so it will not fall behind. 

With about a billion dollars per year, the plan would be able to cover two years of tuition fees for students enrolled in one of the 14 public community colleges in the Commonwealth. It would provide tuition for students that have family incomes less than or equal to $110,000 a year, and who have been accepted to one of the 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities. 

The plan would also provide grants for students based on family income, and expand grant assistance to adults seeking industry-related skills and college credit, according to the center’s press release.

“With a modest and smart investment, Pennsylvania can build a more prosperous future for its citizens and reinvigorate the American Dream in every corner of the keystone state,” the press release said.

Pennsylvania ranks 47 out of 50 states in terms of per capita funding for higher education. With the required spending from the Pennsylvania Promise, Pennsylvania would rank 36th in the state.

The cost of the Pennsylvania Promise is equivalent to one fourth of the revenue created by raising the Pennsylvania personal income tax by one percent. Because of the disinvestment in education, Pennsylvania is ranked worst in the nation in terms of higher education.

By investing in revenues, Pennsylvania’s long-term wealth, opportunities and quality of life would increase, according to the press release.

“Anyone who cares about Pennsylvania, particularly those parts of the state underserved by affordable, accessible higher education — most of the state outside the Philadelphia metro area and parts of the Pittsburgh metro area should be leading the charge for Pennsylvania to enact the Pennsylvania Promise,” the press release said.

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