A message from President Weinstein addressed the many issues facing the campus, including its impending budget cut from Gov. Tom Corbett on March 8 for the 2011-12 academic years.It would cost students twice as much to attend West Chester University next year as a result in the proposed budget cut of 50 percent in funding for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). Not only would current students of WCU be affected by this reduction, but staff as well.
This budget cut would reduce the capacity of students being able to complete their degrees on time, end collaborations with community partners in the arts, community service and economic development.
Higher education will have to raise tuition beyond capacity of many working families to afford college, destroying opportunity for many who have worked to earn it.
At WCU, the Governor’s proposal would result in at least a $26 million reduction, or approximately ,15 percent of the institutions operating budget. To cover the gap for the Governor’s plan, tuition would need to increase by nearly 30 percent. The school is Chester County’s seventh largest employer and, with the budget getting cut in half, cuts would include staff and faculty reductions.
President Weinstein also stressed the hardships within the community. WCU students provide more than 230,000 hours of volunteer service in the community each year. The school alone attracts over 70,000 people to campus for cultural arts programs, and provides affordable performance space and opportunities for community groups as well.
Many academic and outreach programs will get cut along with budget cuts; which includes programs such as the Business Technology center, a pre-med program that places nearly 100 percent of graduates into medical school. The teacher education programs prepare more than 700 new teachers annually.
Students who are soon leaving the institution feel affected by the new budget cut.
“I would feel financially ripped-off if I couldn’t pay for my education for another year,” Shlonda Jones, an upcoming spring 2011 graduate, said.
The costs of tuition would rise, and that does not include general fees, housing and eating expenses. The cost of living has been rapidly increasing, but the cost of being and becoming a college student will as well.
As a WCU student, faculty, staff member, alumni or community member, stay informed with budget news and visit the updated budget page at http://www.wcupa.edu/president/messages/facts.asp.
Jazzmine Carruth is a fourth-year student majoring in professional studies with minors in journalism and education. She can be reached at JC659524@wcupa.edu.