State university system pledges to transform amid struggles
Photo by Ben Allen/witf
(Harrisburg) — Leaders of Pennsylvania’s state-owned university system are promising a transformation amid declining enrollments, rising costs and lackluster state support.
Tuesday’s hearing before the House Appropriations Committee comes after enrollment at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education fell below 100,000 for the first time since 2001.
The system of 14 universities is preparing for another demographic crunch, as the number of Pennsylvania’s high school graduates is projected to keep falling. Pennsylvania’s state support is about half the proportion of the national average for state schools.
The system had asked for an increase of almost $38 million, or 8 percent. But last week Gov. Tom Wolf proposed an increase of $7 million, or 1.5 percent.
Chancellor Dan Greenstein warns that the system is close to hitting the ceiling for tuition increases.