It should come as no surprise to anyone in Pennsylvania’s System of Higher Education (PASSHE) that funding has been a topic of controversy for some time now.
In the 2011-2012 academic year, Gov. Tom Corbett proposed to cut higher education funding in half, causing many students to fear for their education.
The proposed budget for the 2012-2013 academic year seemed to look a bit better than the previous year, however it still took a toll on education. Under Corbett’s original proposed budget announced in February 2012, a 20 percent cut in funding would have been given to state-owned universities, giving PASSHE $330 million in funds.
The four state-related universities, Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh, Lincoln University and Temple University would have received a 30 percent cut.
The proposed cuts in funding would have also affected public education, which would have put a stop to funding for programs such as kindergarten, pre-k, and tutoring, as well as put the jobs of many teachers in jeopardy.
Due to increased revenues and the objection of many, a counter-proposal put forth by the state senate restored funding to education.
The overall budget for Pennsylvania this year is $27.66 billion, which is half a million more than the governor’s proposed budget. $11.34 billion of this budget is being put toward education, which is about 40 percent of the overall budget.
There was a 0.9 percent increase to $9.3 billion in public school funding. More than $39 million is being put towards helping 16 distressed school districts. The increase in funds will also go toward public school transportation, special education and teacher evaluations.
However, the funding level for PASSHE, as well as the state-related universities, remained the same as last year, at roughly $413 million.
With this restoration of funding came a three percent, or $188, increase in tuition for PASSHE schools for the 2012-2013 academic year, keeping it at the rate of inflation.
With this increase in tuition, the total cost of attendance for PASSHE will remain below the national average, allowing the system to remain an affordable option for higher education.