At Governor Corbett’s budget address, the governor will continue the cliff funding of public higher education. Governor Corbett’s refusal to restore a 20 percent budget cut to the State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) from his first budget will actually cost PASSHE an extra $12 million from inflation changes, and it’s 2014.
After last year’s budget, I reported for the Raging Chicken Press that cliff funding of higher education is becoming a “new norm” for the State System of Higher Education. I reported:
If Governor Corbett’s cliff funding of higher education becomes “the new normal” the burden of will slowly be felt by those attending a publicly funded institution. For instance, if we accept the 2011/2012 funding level as the bar for public higher education spending – or an investment that students should appreciate from the taxpayers – the PASSHE system will actually lose money due to inflation. When adjusted to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator, the State System of Higher Education has lost $8.25 million a year for the past two years.
As of last year, PASSHE lost $8.25 million from inflation from Governor Corbett’s 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 budgets, and with inflation remaining the same the State System of Higher Education will lose another $4.13 million from inflation changes. That’s an extra $12.38 million dollars lost from Governor Corbett’s original budget. The cost will be passed onto students, through increases in fees and tuition, and according to the Project on Student Debt, the average PASSHE student graduates with $27,000 in student debt. The loss of money will also take a toll on faculty members, and this past year we witnessed waves of faculty layoffs around the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
With Governor Corbett’s anticipated cliff funding of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education for a third straight year, one portion of Governor Corbett’s legacy will include his “do more with less” attitude that has plagued public higher education since his 2010 – 2011. Those living in the commonwealth should be against the governor’s refusal to restore higher education funding because these actions harm actually people. Students will be asked to pay more and college professors may be asked to leave.