Contact Information 

Meadville District Office
900-920 Water Street
Downtown Mall
Meadville, PA  16335
Phone (814) 336-1136
Hours 8 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. (M-F)

Fairview Office (Mondays Only)
Fairview Township Building
7471 McCray Rd., Fairview, PA
Hours 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (Monday)
1-800-770-2377

Cranesville Office (Thursdays Only)
Cranesville Borough Office
10195 John Williams Ave.
Cranesville, PA 16410
Phone: 1-800-770-2377
Hours 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. (Thursday)

Capitol Office
Hon. Brad Roae
162B East Wing
Harrisburg PA 17120-2006
Phone: (717) 787-2353
Fax: 717-782-2902

E-mail:
  broae@pahousegop.com

House Committee Holds Hearing on Roae’s Keep Tuition Affordable Proposals
8/15/2012
HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania House State Government Committee today in Harrisburg held a hearing about four bills introduced by Rep. Brad Roae (R-Crawford) as part of his Keep Tuition Affordable package of legislation.

Roae’s proposals are aimed at controlling costs at the 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities, which would reduce the amount of debt that many students and their parents accumulate while seeking a college education.

“Skyrocketing student debt and rising tuition rates are a serious concern for students and parents,” Roae said. “Continually rising tuition rates makes it that much harder for low- and middle-income families to send their sons and daughters to state universities. If we don’t take action, the dream of a college diploma may be out of reach for many working-class families.”

Roae’s House Bill 2243 would end the process whereby PASSHE employees are able to send their sons and daughters to state universities without having to pay tuition.

During the hearing, Kenneth Mash – vice president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, the union that represents professors – argued that many of the employees who benefit from this fringe benefit are low-wage workers. When asked by Roae if he would be willing to support ending the benefit for college professors who earn more than $100,000 a year while protecting it for low-wage workers, Mash was noncommittal.

“This policy is the equivalent of higher education welfare for professors who are being paid six-figure salaries,” Roae said. “It’s outrageous for the sons and daughters of factory workers and farmers to be paying tuition while the children of professors get a free ride. Quite frankly, because the children of college professors aren’t paying tuition, it’s the sons and daughters of those factory workers and farmers who are paying for the professors’ kids.”

Roae’s House Bill 2442 would prohibit mandatory student activity fees, which can add nearly $5,000 to the cost of a four-year state university degree. His House Bill 2444 would place a moratorium on frivolous construction projects, which also drive up the costs of a state university education.

Roae’s House Bill 2446 would prohibit paid sabbaticals for PASSHE professors. While PASSHE schools are touted as “teaching institutions” as opposed to “research institutions,” approximately 7 percent of professors may be on paid sabbatical – which means they are not teaching students – at any given time. In the past, sabbaticals have been used by PASSHE professors to, among other things, travel to Africa to study endangered species.

Mash argued that ending the practice would cause the students at PASSHE universities to suffer.

“I’m not quite sure how students would suffer by having their professors in the classroom instead of globetrotting to study an endangered species of snail or doing some exotic bird watching,” Roae said. “I believe professors can do the most good when they are in the classroom and teaching students.”

Other testifiers at Wednesday’s hearing included Jonathan Robe, administrative director with the Center for College Affordability and Productivity; Dr. John Cavanaugh, chancellor of PASSHE; and Nathan Benefield, director of policy analysis for the Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives.

“I am certainly open to amendments or proposals that would make any of my bills stronger or better,” Roae said. “We simply can’t continue down the path where students pay more and more to attend state universities while professors acquire more and more benefits on top of their already high salaries.”

For more information about Roae’s 10-bill Keep Tuition Affordable package of legislation, visit his website at www.RepRoae.com.

State Representative Brad Roae
6th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Dan Massing
dmassing@pahousegop.com
717.772.9845
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