Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett proposed a $27.3 billion budget for the next fiscal year last Tuesday.
The budget, which will be placed by the end of June if approved by legislature, proposes more than a 76 percent decrease in numerous departments.
Education is one place Corbett plans to cut the most. There will be an estimated $1.5 billion decrease in funds spent on education, according to the proposal, creating a budget of $10 billion.
No tax increases will occur, creating larger cuts in other areas.
Corbett said the state began the year more than $4 billion in debt. The new proposal cuts about $33 million in annual spending.
If the budget is passed, state schools, including Shippensburg University, will face a 20 percent decrease in funds while state-related universities, such as Pennsylvania State University, University of Pittsburgh and Temple University, face a 30 percent decrease.
SU President William Ruud said, if passed, the budget has the potential to directly affect the campus in multiple ways: larger class sizes, difficulty getting to classes, reduced library access and a difficulty of not getting all necessary courses in a four-year period.
Guido Pichini, chairperson of Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors and PASSHE Chancellor John C. Cavanaugh released a press release in response to Corbett’s proposal.
In the joint press release, they recognized the financial struggles but were not willing to sacrifice affordable higher education.
“However, our joint goals are at risk as a result of the budget blueprint for the Commonwealth presented today, which provides only $2 million more than the system received 24 years ago in 1988-1989. During that period, we have added 23,000 students,” the press release said.
A similar scenario is a family budget that each student has, Ruud said.
Once a certain income is established, a family has the same amount to also cover expenses.
However, when the income decreases or stops, the family must reevaluate how to increase the income, cut expenses or combine both of these options in order to meet the current budget.
The university will operate on a similar system to support students and their education, he said.
Despite the possible changes, Ruud is confident that SU will not lose its integrity.
“Any changes in operations that we have to make will be made in such a way as to continue to provide students with an education recognized nationally for its excellence and to provide faculty with the support they need to continue the outstanding work they do with students,” Ruud said.