(WHTM) – Funding for Penn State, Pitt., and Temple is still not approved and still needs a two-thirds vote, not a simple majority.
Representative Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon County) said, “And quite frankly, there’s enough people upset with enough of those institutions spread out that we don’t have a two-thirds vote yet. So if they run that today or tomorrow while we’re still here, I don’t know if that’s going to pass or not.”
Some are upset the schools won’t guarantee tuition freezes in exchange for a state funding increase. Other lawmakers say the schools are secretive about what they’re doing with taxpayer money and right-to-know laws are lax.
“It’s a real problem,” said Representative Paul Takac (D-Centre County.)
Penn State’s main campus sits in Paul Takac’s district. He worries about the consequences of holding up the cash.
“It’s beginning to affect programs. Those state-related institutions are going to very soon have to make some very difficult choices about how they fund their programs,” said Takac.
Penn State’s president Neeli Bendapudi promised in this op-ed to work with lawmakers on creating performance goals, and to publicly release an accountability report.
Representative Bryan Cutler (R-Majority Leader) said, “I was very encouraged by what the Penn State president put forward. I think that’s exactly where we’ve been all along. And I’m glad to see people coming to our position.”
But Bendapudi also noted state money goes directly to reduce tuition for in-state students. Last year, she said, that averaged $ 15,000 for 42,000 students. She said for now the school’s shifting money to cover it but…
“We cannot afford to subsidize in-state tuition indefinitely. It is crucial for our students that lawmakers act now,” said Bendapudi.
Takac said, “I’m encouraged that we will be able to move forward with that, but I’m really concerned that we resolve this sooner than later and solve the long-term question in the longer term.”
A sign that there might be a sense of urgency to get this done. The House has called a very rare Thursday session that almost never happens outside of June, and they called an 8 a.m. start time. That absolutely never happens. We’ll see if they can get the work done at the state capitol.
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