Higher ed officials react to Gov. Corbett’s proposed cuts

For a second straight year, Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget includes steep funding cuts for higher education, putting students and families on edge as legislators prepare to debate the spending plan.

After proposing a 50 percent cut last year to state-related universities, legislators eventually approved a 19 percent reduction in funding. Yesterday, Corbett called for a 30-percent drop in funding for three of the four state-related universities, with Lincoln University the sole recipient of level funding. The 14 state-owned universities, including Cheyney and West Chester, would see a 20-percent dropoff.

Corbett said it is time to have a “thorough, public and candid conversation” about how to deal with spiraling costs.

University presidents said that further cuts imposed on top of last year’s reductions could lead to higher tuition.

“We have become leaner and more focused on a quality education. That effort continues,” Temple President Ann Weaver Hart said in a video response. “The governor’s plan, however, is not one that can be met by cutting costs. If approved by the General Assembly, this reduction in support will be felt by every student, parent and employee.”

The reaction from Penn State University, where Corbett is on the Board of Trustees, was a bit more reserved.

“We will do everything we can to continue to cut costs and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of delivering our broad range of instructional programs, the core of what makes Penn State a great academic institution,” said Penn State president Rodney Erickson.

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