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Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education combined institutions. Photo: Pexels.

Pennsylvania state-owned universities to receive $125 million

Governing board chair Cynthia Shapira said in a statement it will help the universities equip themselves to better serve more students.

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According to Higher Ed Dive, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) will be the beneficiary of a one-time $125 million investment in addition to historic funding from the new state budget, as state lawmakers aim to solve its financial issues caused by moderate state funding over the years. The $125 million will now be used in the system’s broader redesign. 

The overall 16% increase in operating money, to $552.5 million, is a part of Pennsylvania’s fiscal 2022-23 budget, signed by Gov. Tom Wolf last week. It represents the largest funding increase the state has ever had.

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After a funding cut PASSHE suffered in 2010, it has seen enrollment drop by 25% since. The system had to say goodbye to many moderate and lower income students as tuition increased, trying to balance its budget. 

In order to change this reality and secure more state investment, System Chancellor Dan Greenstein recently pursued a merger plan, which combined six institutions into two. Focusing on stackable credentials, the Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania is composed of Bloomsburg, Mansfield and Lock Haven universities. Focusing on online education is Pennsylvania Western University, a combination of California, Clarion and Edinboro universities.  

The system's new numbers are promising, as it enrolled around 88,600 students for the Fall of 2021 and asked for a 15% increase in state appropriations. 

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