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Gov. Shapiro on Higher Education Reform

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro is calling for reform in the state’s higher education system, so what do the presidents of some of Pennsylvania’s largest colleges think about the proposal?

Governor Shapiro feels it is time for new thinking at the state’s centers of thinking.

With close to 250 colleges statewide, many compete for state funding while now facing declining enrollments.

At a state Senate hearing Thursday, administrators from Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln were asked about the governor’s proposal and if they could come together in reforming higher education in Pennsylvania?

“I think the discussion the governor is calling for, frankly the discussion the general assembly has called for before, to have that discussion would provide a shared understanding of the policy objective. Then I really have little concern that the leadership from the universities would not be willing to get together and very constructively pathways to address it,”

“So, to me, it’s not a question of turf. It is not a question of who does what. It is what is the problem we are trying to solve as a state? What is the mission?” said Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi.

Bemdapudi was asked about the university’s current efforts to cut its operating budget, to help reduce a deficit of more than $100 million, and what that means for staffing cutbacks.

“We still do not have any plans for mass layoffs.”

Governor Shapiro is proposing higher state spending for the state aided higher education institutions and feels it will help bolster cutbacks in federal COVID relief funding.

Penn State’s projected state appropriation for the upcoming school year is nearly $260 million.

For Pitt, it’s close to $166 million.

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