A Pennsylvania House panel has approved a measure to cut funding for state-owned and state-related universities
It was a vote down party lines -- Democrats called the proposed funding cuts draconian and Republicans made the case for belt-tightening in hard times.
When it came time to take a vote on the first of four bills to decrease funding for higher education, Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Adolph of Delaware County offered a wry observation:
"21 yays and 14 nays. Despite all that conversation, obviously no one changed their mind."
The proposal would make an 18 percent cut to funds for the 14 state system schools including IUP, Millersville, Slippery Rock, California, Edinboro and Bloomsburg.
The funding cut would be 19 percent for the four state-related universities --, Pitt, Penn State, Temple, and Lincoln.
Democrats say the reductions would force schools to hike their tuition, but Republicans say the General Assembly can’t control tuition rates.
Adolph says universities would be able to keep tuition low since the proposed cuts come in under the Governor’s suggested number.
"A lot of these CFOs of these universities and the board of trustees, even when it was a 50 percent decrease in funding, they were going to try their best to keep tuition as low as possible. It was not going to be a dollar for dollar increase in tuition."
The legislation will likely be considered by the Senate next week.