HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The ABC27 FactChecker is hard at work following a packed higher education funding rally at the Capitol on Monday.

With signs like, “Don’t be nuts, restore the cuts,” hundreds of people filled the steps of the Rotunda, demanding more funding for state-owned universities.

“We have a common enemy,” Shippensburg student Keyshawn Fitzgerald said. “It is these politicians who don’t want to give us our money.”

ABC27 started the fact-checking process with the first claim: rising tuition.

It is very much true. State system records show in 2004, the average cost of attendance at Indiana University of Pennsylvania was $10,498 per year. Ten years later, that cost had almost doubled.

The next claim was that state funding for state schools is at the same level as it was in 1997.

“Everything simply costs more today, welcome to the world of inflation, than it did in 1997,” said Frank Brogan, chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

Also true. But not mentioned is the increasing cost of payroll for college presidents, deans, and assistants. A few months ago, ABC27 discovered the total payroll for those kinds of positions went up by 42 percent over the last five years.

For example, the president of West Chester got a 13 percent raise to make roughly $273,000 per year. The assistant to the president of Clarion University got a 50 percent jump in pay over 10 years to eventually make six figures.

“This system today is 900 employees smaller than it was eight years ago,” Brogan said during the rally.

Again, true. But some have questioned the positions that escaped those cuts. For example, Bloomsburg has a president, an executive assistant to the president, an executive secretary, and a deputy to the president.

Educators say many of these costs are necessary to stay competitive.

“We think it’s very important to have the kind of programs students want that are going to serve the needs of employers so that when our students graduate, they’re highly employable in jobs that are well-paying jobs,” PASSHE spokesman Kenn Marshall said.Get breaking news, weather and traffic on the go. Download the ABC 27 News App and the ABC 27 Weather App for your phone or tablet.