Very Selective Priorities in Higher Education Funding in Pennsylvania


Between 2008 and 2014, state support for higher education has decreased 30.7% in Pennsylvania, the 11th highest decrease among the states. The decrease has amounted to $2,206 per full-time-equivalent student. In 2014, while 42 of the 50 states have increased allocations for higher education, Pennsylvania has been one of eight states in which state funding has continued to decrease. Not surprisingly, between 2008 and 2014, tuition has increased 16.6% in the state, or $1,799 per student.

As the Republican governor and legislature have rather relentlessly cut funding and the public colleges and universities have struggled to keep their budgets balanced, the state’s unusual and somewhat haphazardly developed “system” of colleges and universities has attracted attention. Specifically, as the state’s pool of high school graduates enters what will be an extended period of decline, many observers, both inside and outside of higher education, have pointed to the resources being devoted…

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