Roae Introducing Legislation to Freeze Tuition at State System of Higher Education Schools
HARRISBURG – State Rep. Brad Roae (R-Crawford) today announced he is introducing a 10-bill package of legislation that would, among other things, freeze tuition at Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) schools.
“This legislation would help keep tuition costs down and empower more students to attend state-owned universities,” Roae said. “These bills put the needs of students and parents first. The goal of the state universities should be to provide a quality education at the lowest possible cost. Right now, they are not meeting that goal.”
Roae’s package of bills includes one piece of legislation that would freeze PASSHE tuition rates for 2012-13 at the 2011-12 levels regardless of state funding levels.
“In the past, we have seen that – regardless of whether state funding has gone up or down – state universities have continually increased their tuition rates on students,” Roae said. “There is no discernable connection between tuition rates and state funding.”
Roae’s proposal also would change the way PASSHE schools receive funding from the state. Instead of providing a direct subsidy to the schools, funding would go directly to PASSHE students in the form of grants. Under Roae’s plan, each student would receive approximately $1,800 in grant funding. Students with “job-ready majors,” or those who are studying in areas that are in high economic demand, would receive an additional grant of approximately $1,800.
“We should be encouraging students to pursue education paths that offer them the best chance for good careers once they graduate,” Roae said. “There is a very limited demand for students with degrees in women’s studies compared to those who have nursing, engineering or business degrees. If taxpayers are going to invest in students, they deserve to know that money will be well spent.”
Another bill would prohibit mandatory student fees, which range from $235 to $900 at PASSHE schools.
“Many students focus primarily on academics and don’t participate in extracurricular activities,” Roae said. “It makes no sense to add an additional $3,600 onto their cost of higher education for something they don’t use.”
The other bills in Roae’s proposal would: cap the salaries of PASSHE university presidents to ensure none of them are paid more than the governor; prohibit PASSHE employees from sending their family members or domestic partners to state universities without paying tuition; increase the number of credit hours that full-time professors have to teach each semester from 12 hours to 15 hours per week; prohibit PASSHE professors from taking paid sabbaticals; require state university union presidents to work full-time instead of the three fewer credit hours per week they are currently entitled to; remove the cap that limits the number of part-time professors who can teach at the universities; and place a moratorium on frivolous construction projects.
“The purpose of our state universities – to provide an affordable education – has been sidetracked by other interests,” Roae said. “If we reform the system and put the focus back on doing what’s best for the students instead of the special interest groups, I believe we can make higher education more affordable for Pennsylvanians.”
More information about the Keep Tuition Affordable package of legislation is available on Roae’s website at www.RepRoae.com
State Representative Brad Roae
6th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Dan Massing