The Rocket, Slippery Rock University
Budget. When you see that word, you probably want to put down the newspaper and quit reading. It’s confusing, and it doesn’t even affect you anyway right? WRONG.
Pa. Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed budget for 2012-13 affects every single one of you in a very big way. Tuesday, Corbett announced his proposed budget, which includes a 20 percent cut, or $82.5 million, of state funding to Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) schools, one of which is SRU.
So what does that mean for you, the typical student? Let’s look at the facts. Last year, Corbett proposed a 51.4 percent cut. Thankfully, the actual cut for 2011-12 was only 18 percent. But that 18 percent cut did enough damage to directly affect every single student. Because of the cut, the PASSHE Board of Governors was forced to increase the cost of tuition by 7.5 percent, which we’re sure you noticed when your tuition bill came in the mail in August.
Let’s think about this for a second. For the 2011-12 fiscal year, PASSHE schools lost 18 percent of their state funding, which led directly to a 7.5 percent tuition hike along with several cutbacks.
Corbett just proposed a 2012-13 budget, which would include a 20 percent cut of state funding. Assuming that stands and no concession is made by the state legislature, we could be looking at another tuition hike of about 8 percent. That’s a big deal. For some people, that could mean no longer being able to afford college. This is a public institution of higher education. There shouldn’t be a question of affordability.
A tuition increase isn’t the only repercussion we may have to worry about. California University of Pa., another one of the 14 PASSHE schools, announced Wednesday, the day after Corbett revealed his proposed budget, that they will cut 11 of their 116 administrators. Slippery Rock doesn’t have any plans as of late, but if this budget cut goes through, changes are going to have to be made.
So what can you do to help? Send an e-mail to Corbett and your other state representatives telling them why they shouldn’t be cutting funds to higher education. Post on Facebook and Twitter about it. It seems small, but social media has unbelievable power.
We’re not sure what the motivation is for Governor Corbett’s apparent tirade against education, but we don’t like it and it needs to change.
The Penn, Indiana University
President Barack Obama, in his January State of the Union Address, laid out an ultimatum for the country’s colleges. “Higher education can’t be a luxury,” he said. “It is an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.”
Gov. Tom Corbett agreed with this sentiment in his Feb. 7 budget address: “I think he is right that we need to confront the problem. I think we need to talk about this honestly and without rancor and dramatics.”
Corbett clearly does agree with Obama’s sentiment – what better way to convey that affordable higher education is a must than by hacking another 20 percent from state funding?
I suppose we should be thankful, right? Last year Corbett’s proposed education cuts were a whopping 50 percent.
The state legislature approved an 18-percent cut, a blessing compared to the proposed 50 percent. But what was the result?
Your tuition went up more than $400 – arguably a direct result of that 18-percent cut. What would another 20-percent cut bring? Another $400? $500? That’s a nearly $1,000 increase in just two years.
IUP Interim President Werner has conveyed both dismay and uncertainty in response to the proposed cuts, saying that, should they come to pass, IUP will be left trying to reduce spending by about $10 million.
“It would certainly have some very serious implications for our ability to deliver services that we currently deliver,” he said.
How, we should be asking Gov. Corbett, is that “agreeing” with the call for affordable higher education?
A 20-percent cut would be detrimental to not only IUP, but also the other 13 schools in the State System. What’s more is that our own president has expressed that he doesn’t know how the school would deal with such cuts.
Does that make you angry? Are you concerned about the quality of your education in the coming years.
Good. You should be. And you should do something about it.
Don’t let your voice go unheard. Call state senators and representatives. Get involved in rallies. Heck, organize a rally. Find out what other schools are doing and get involved or bring their ideas here.
Get angry. Get loud. Let Gov. Corbett know that this is absolutely unacceptable. It’s your education, and it’s up to you to defend it.
The Snapper, Millersville University
Education is a luxury. It doesn’t come with expensive trinkets, catered dining services, or golden platters encrusted with rare jewels. Education is quite the opposite, but its luxurious quality lays in the faculty who devote their lives to passing their immersive knowledge onto eager students. Their passion for teaching allows their students to pursue their dreams, and someday attain their definition of luxury. Yet this promise is fading with another strike to education’s funding by Gov. Corbett’s latest proposed budget plan.
This plan will cut higher education by $1.4 billion – specifically for Millersville University and the other 13 PASSHE universities, a 20% cut. Similar to last year’s budget cuts, students are expected to face increase in class sizes, lack of available classes, and a tuition hike. In this rough economy, finances are scarce, and jobs are even scarcer. A college degree will only get you so far; it doesn’t always guarantee that you will gain a foothold in your career. What are students to do if they cannot return to Millersville or their respective university? One option is to find a job and save the money to pay for college. But for others, transferring to a community college is the best option to continue their education at a lower cost. Regardless, Governor Corbett is also hitting community colleges, albeit at a lower percentage.
There are numerous other areas that could alleviate these cuts from education: taxing prisons, especially eliminating last meal requests for Death Row inmates, taxing Marcellus Shale, big companies, and the upper class or the 1%. There are even more areas that can be hit and not suffer as great consequences as education does. The biggest consequence is the decreasing classes available to students, important for seniors seeking to graduate on time, and increasing class sizes that will imminently destroy a teacher and student’s personal experience. But this change won’t matter if students are transferring to out-of-state colleges, which are cheaper compared to the cuts.
Instead of losing valuable assets like alumni staying in the state, government officials, such as those in Gov. Corbett’s cabinet could cut their salary. It’s the purpose of the recent discussion to tax the rich, or the 1%, instead of heavily taxing the working class. At that rate, the public would know where the money is going that is being cut. More than likely, the majority of the public is not aware of
what their hard-earned money is spent on. So, who better to regulate the budget plan than the people who are being impacted by these cuts? Business people, faculty, administrators of colleges, and even students could possibly perform a better job. They know better than anyone else the current situation of who needs to be cut and without much thought, Marcellus Shale, the 1%, and other areas of society would immediately be hit.
Or perhaps they would see that education is too costly. Maybe the best option would be to follow other countries that allow free education. Even more pleasing is eliminating general education classes, allowing immediate hands-on experience for students who are certain of their career. That would definitely reduce the amount of years in higher education and more time earning your luxury in your field. Students need a proper, affordable education to succeed in today’s world. It is ever-changing, ever-evolving yet is consistently producing the next leaders of the world. Some of the people who make decisions on these cuts are the same people who attended higher education, attained their degrees, and made a difference. Will we see this trend suddenly evaporate with these cuts or will we, the future leaders thrive through these tough times, and prosper? Stand up and be heard.
The Voice, Bloomsburg University
Governor Tom Corbett has recently announced that there will be more budget cuts, which will leave the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) with $330 million as opposed to the $412 million from last year for working and middle class students to receive a quality higher education. Since Corbett has taken office, there has been a loss of almost $175 million, according to the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF).
Corbett plans to cut $82.5 million from PASSHE, which will cause tuition to increase at many of the state-owned schools, APSCUF said. This past year, Bloomsburg students had to add $436 to their bill to cover the 18 percent cuts.
While the students need to pay more, the salary for Corbett and his workers has been increasing. Last year, the Associated Press reported that state lawmakers received a three percent raise, which put Governor Corbett’s salary to $183,000. He decided to stay at $175,000 and donate to charity, AP said. With the recent cuts, Corbett still employs 55 workers that in total make $4.3 million a year, according to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
We at The Voice believe in the mission of PASSHE for state schools to supply accessible, affordable, “high quality education at the lowest possible cost to students.” We do not think Corbett is providing this.
According to APSCUF, “the average PASSHE student graduates with over $23,000 in student loan debt.”We at The Voice believe this system will cause the opportunity for students to receive higher education to deteriorate. Students can barely afford upper level education as it is so by increasing the cost, fewer students will continue to go to school.
We at The Voice believe as students are paying more for education, we should receive the quality we are putting in. This university is accepting more students than it can provide for, which is discouraging the quality we strive to have. Students are overpopulating classrooms, eateries, and shuttle buses.
As Dr. Eric Hawrelak, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, pointed out in a ‘Letter to the Editor’ last week, classroom capacities have gone from a comfortable learning environment to a fight for the last available seat. With Sutliff still closed, open classrooms in general are difficult to find. We at The Voice believe there should be better accommodations made for students paying an extra $436 because of the budget cuts.
Even common eateries on campus have taken a turn for the worse. Places like Roongos and the Husky have excruciating long lines since they have about the same number of employees as they did with students from before over acceptance. The shuttle buses have been overflowing with students as well. The environment we live in throughout the university should provide the quality we are putting our money into.
Overall, we at The Voice believe students need to become more aware of the budget cuts. Students need to take action by writing to the governor, uniting with other students, and going to rallies if they don’t want the prices to increase even more than they already have. It is important for students to unite because one voice alone cannot send a message.