By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — While he is slashing the funding to state-owned and state-related universities across Pennsylvania for a second year in a row (see related story), Governor Tom Corbett is appointing an advisory panel to study post-secondary education.
In his budget message, the governor said the panel will make recommendations on how to make higher education accessible and affordable to students — and fair to taxpayers — in the Commonwealth.
Rob Wonderling, CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, will chair the panel. Its 30 members include university presidents affected by the cutbacks, including Ann Weaver Hart of Temple University.
Temple officials say that, if approved by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the Commonwealth’s appropriation to the university would fall by more than 50 percent over two years. That includes a 19-percent cut in the current fiscal year plus a five-percent “freeze” imposed by Corbett in January.
This year, Temple increased tuition by 10 percent.
Hart’s message to the campus community was that students, parents, employees, and alumni should lobby state lawmakers, and let the General Assembly know how vital their support is for schools like Temple.
Lincoln University is the only state-related school that would not see a reduction in funding. State-owned schools like Cheyney and West Chester would be cut 20 percent.