Pennsylvania College Funding Stalls Could Lead to Tuition Soaring

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (AP) — Partisan battles over funding of three Pennsylvania state-affiliated colleges could push tuition rates up for state students as budget stalemate continues beyond the summer. be.

The state government was two weeks away from running out of full spending authority on Tuesday, but there was still more left to do. Funding for three state-funded Pennsylvania universities (Penn State University, University of Pittsburgh, and Temple University) is up in the air. Gov. Josh Shapiro and his Democratic allies support a 7% increase in state aid to the three schools, bringing the total to $623 million.

But Republicans are reluctant to do so. In recent weeks, House Republicans have repeatedly rejected efforts to approve the aid, complaining that schools are too aggressive in raising tuition and wanting money to go to students rather than institutions.

Overall, the dispute over final spending plan approval shows no sign of ending soon. Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R, Ind.) wrote to his House counterpart on Tuesday about the amount of work still to be done, and held the Democratic-controlled House accountable to do so.

Both the House and Senate $45 billion A spending plan for the fiscal year has been developed, but the administrative task of signing the bill on the floor of the Senate has prevented it from reaching Mr. Shapiro’s desk.

The senators are not reelection scheduled until September, and Pittman said the House “would see little value in going back to session and finalizing the plan” without legislation in place to direct how the budget should be spent. I am thinking,” he said.

Uncertainty about state aid is cracking the universities’ own budget plans and could lead to what Republicans criticize the schools for: rising student tuition.

Pennsylvania State University said in a statement that state leadership was disappointed that the bill failed to pass the House. State funding supports the university’s 40,000 statewide students, and “thousands of Pennsylvania students and their families depend on it each year,” the spokesperson said.

Hari Sastry, senior vice president and chief financial officer of the University of Pittsburgh, said all of the state grant money went to statewide discounts for Pennsylvania students, about 17,000 students and about $16,000. undergraduates said to be affected.

“It’s a pretty big uncertainty and they’re going to have to plan for that,” he said. “Clearly we can’t wait until September to set tuition fees and such. So we need to figure out what that interim period looks like.”

Sastry can’t remember a year when Congress didn’t fund colleges, but it’s not the first time funding for schools has been delayed. Inflation has increased stress on families and colleges this year, he said.

“I think the current situation is very different from what we’ve been through,” he said.

By any measure, Pennsylvania has the highest student debt and some of the lowest college fees compared to other states. Some education advocates accuse lawmakers of lacking adequate funding for higher education. Pennsylvania College Funding Stalls Could Lead to Tuition Soaring

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