If Pennsylvania cuts education budget, students lose

While we at Gannon University sit in private-university bliss, a firestorm is raging among Pennsylvania’s state-owned and state-related universities. The state’s budget for higher education could be slashed nearly in half, meaning students could feel the pain of Gov. Tom Corbett’s machete in the form of tuition increases.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported March 8 that Corbett’s proposed budget reduces the State System of Higher Education, composed of 14 colleges and universities, from $444 million in funding this year to $232 million.

This affects our neighbors at Edinboro University, the Lake Erie Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State University – as well as numerous other schools across the state.

This affects everyone. It affects the graduating high school seniors who just might not be able to afford to obtain a higher education in the fall. It affects professors and parents.

Students held “United We Stand, Underfunded We Fall” rallies across the state Tuesday thanks to lobbying efforts from the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University faculties.

The APSCUF is also organizing efforts to propose a wage freeze in lieu of the cuts, so students don’t have to bear the load. Students interested in hearing more about these efforts can visit www.pastudentsvoice.org. It might not affect your tuition bill directly, but you should still be informed.

Before the admissions machines at private colleges and universities get so blinded by dollar signs in their eyes from the prospect of more business coming their way, they should step back and look at this from another angle.

Education is a right that shouldn’t be offered only to the privileged. Our government has a responsibility to protect the health and welfare of its citizens. Times are tough, but cutting funding for education is a low blow.

To the state’s public institutions: we stand with you.