Governor Tom Corbett announced in his proposed budget Tuesday that funding for higher education will remain at the current amount for the 2013 – 2014 fiscal year.
The current spending for higher education is to be maintained at its current level of $1.2 billion, easing fears of more cuts.
The proposed budget would be instated in the next financial year, which starts in July.
The state funding available for the tuition grants that are administered through the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency would also receive flat funding at $345 million.
According the Patriot News and PennLive.com, the governor is hoping college presidents limit tuition increases.
Jon Shumway, Associate Professor of Art, has mixed feelings about the governor’s proposed budget.
“I’m certainly happy that he is not trying to cut us,” Shumway said, “But I don’t view his proposed, stagnant budget as a positive.”
According to Shumway, while the budget is more helpful than it has been in years past, higher education still needs to be brought back up to speed from previous cuts.
“I certainly think that in light of past cuts, we are certainly worthy of an increase to get us back closer to where we were a few years ago,” Shumway said. “Over the
past few years we’ve been forced to stretch our budget. I think its time for the governor to demonstrate that he values higher education in the state.”
Shumway believes the PASSHE system is here in large part with the purpose of educating Pennsylvania citizens.
“It’s high time he starts to put his money where his mouth is,” Shumway said.
By keeping flat funding for the 14 PASSHE universities, and Penn State, Pitt, Temple, Lincoln, and Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, the governor is attempting to keep tuition increases at a minimum.
However, according to the Patriot News, students can likely expect to see some increase in their college educational costs next year because the governor did not keep the spending at or below the rate of inflation, which is about two percent.
While Corbett plans to keep state funding for the state grant program the same in his proposed budget, PHEAA has committed to supplementing the budget funding by at least $25 million from its earnings for loan servicing.
This year, PHEAA added $70 million to the amount available for grants. According to Patriot News, State Budget Secretary Charles Zogby said the administration anticipates PHEAA contributing $75 million into the grant program next year.
Overall the proposed state budget would increase spending by almost three percent to $28.4 billion.
The governor proposed to raise the $28.4 billion through fees, taxes and other revenue sources.
Personal income tax and sales tax in the state would not be increased.