ICYMI: After Unveiling Higher Education Blueprint and Budget Proposal, Governor Shapiro Visits Colleges Across the Commonwealth to Highlight How His Blueprint Will Create Opportunity

Governor Shapiro and his Administration are working with higher education leaders, local leaders, and legislators to build off the Governor’s blueprint.    

Harrisburg, PA – Since unveiling his Higher Education blueprint and his 2024-25 budget proposalGovernor Josh Shapiro has traveled across the Commonwealth with local and legislative leaders, meeting with college students and faculty at the Community College of Allegheny CountyReading Area Community College, and West Chester University to share how his bold vision for higher education in Pennsylvania and learn from stakeholders. His blueprint will give students the freedom to chart their own course to successful careers, address critical workforce needs, and drive economic growth and prosperity for our Commonwealth.

Governor Shapiro and his Administration are currently working with higher education institutions and leaders from across the Commonwealth to build out the new blueprint for higher education.

To learn more about how the Governor’s blueprint and proposed budget will create opportunity for Pennsylvanians and build affordable pathways to a college education and to view answers to frequently asked questions, click here.

Read what Pennsylvanians are saying about Governor Shapiro’s Higher Education Blueprint below.


Senator Jay Costa: “I am a proud alumnus of a community college and a state system school, as well as a longtime trustee and treasurer at the Community College of Allegheny Count. As such, I am so proud to be joining Governor Shapiro to champion a plan that will make these institutions more accessible to Pennsylvania’s learners. We must continue to reduce barriers to higher education and deliver funding that supports our students, educators, and staff. The governor’s higher education plan prepares our young people to enter and excel in fields that are in high demand in our commonwealth while easing the financial burdens too often faced by working families. I’m delighted to support this fantastic step in the right direction, and I look forward to bringing all parties to the table to get it done.”

Senator Carolyn Comitta: “Any time we can make higher education more affordable and accessible for more Pennsylvanians, we’re going positively impact our communities and economy. The governor’s blueprint for higher education is a great starting point. As we explore opportunities to improve the system, we should look to successful partnerships like the collaboration between West Chester University and Delaware County College that helps students earn their degrees in a cost-effective manner.”

Representative Chris Pielli: “A strong higher education system is the key to Pennsylvania’s future. But what we’re doing right now isn’t working. PA ranks 49th in the state per capita for state government funding for higher education and in turn, the commonwealth ranks 48th in affordability. We have to do better, and we know we can do better for students in Pennsylvania and our neighboring states in search of the best colleges and universities. That is why I proudly support Governor Shapiro’s historic 2024-25 Proposed Budget for Higher Education and urge my colleagues in the Senate leadership to join us and help get this across the finish line so that Pennsylvania can compete with our neighbor states and ensure brighter, more prosperous futures for our children.”

Senator Wayne Fontana: “As chairman of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, I see firsthand the need for this kind of substantial and thoughtful investment to address affordability. We need to get something done this year. When we get back to Harrisburg, the Senate Democrats will be fighting for every Pennsylvanian that wants to pursue a higher education to have the opportunity to do so.”

Senator Judy Schwank: “I believe in the promise of public education and that every student deserves the opportunity to chase their dreams and pursue their happiness in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Thanks to the bold leadership of Governor Shapiro, we now have a proposal that aims to modernize higher education in Pennsylvania, and it’s a much-needed initiative. There is a lot of hard work ahead, and I’m excited to partner with the Shapiro Administration to develop a public higher education system that effectively meets the needs of our students and the communities they call home.”

State Representative Aerion Abney: “The higher education component of the Governor’s budget proposal is laser focused on keeping college affordable and connecting graduates with careers that will best serve them in the next phase of their lives and the Commonwealth as a whole. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to secure these critical provisions and more.”

Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato: “CCAC’s new advanced manufacturing and IT training programs are just one example of how creative higher education initiatives will define the jobs of the future. However, our current system is not providing quality, affordable education to everyone – and this needs to change. To address this issue, we need to work together with partners like Governor Shapiro, CCAC President Quintin Bullock, and local educators who are committed to shaping a clear vision for the future of higher education. Governor Shapiro’s visionary plan to double Pennsylvania’s spending on higher education would lift us from 49th in the nation to 22nd in just five years. Prioritizing higher education will help young people stay in Pennsylvania, find good paying-jobs, and foster economic prosperity across the state and here in Allegheny County.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey: “Governor, I want to thank you because I think it takes a whole lot of courage to say: we’re 48out of 50 in affordability – and even at 48 out of 50, I am not just going to sit back and let that happen. I am going to create substantial change to give these kids of the next generation the opportunity to succeed and not look at 48 but look at 1 and be great.”

Chester County Commissioner Marian Moskowitz: “I’d like to express my heartfelt appreciation to Governor Shapiro for making accessible education a priority in our Commonwealth. Traditionally, education has been overlooked, leading to inadequately funded systems that fail to meet community needs. The demand for skilled professionals and the expansion of career opportunities for those seeking additional qualifications is evident. Pennsylvania’s commitment to higher education is not just long-awaited but vital for eliminating barriers to access. Supporting education means investing in a future rich with opportunities, capable of transforming lives and setting the stage for future generations. I am inspired by Governor Shapiro’s innovative approach to discussing the future of higher education. I am confident that together, we can profoundly impact the lives of Pennsylvania’s students, who deserve nothing less.”


Community College of Allegheny County President Dr. Quintin Bullock: “The Community College of Allegheny County’s mission is predicated on providing affordable, accessible high-quality education for all members of our community, and we share the Governor’s enthusiasm and commitment to helping Pennsylvanians acquire the education and training they need to realize their full potential”. 

Reading Area Community College President Dr. Susan Looney: “I am looking forward to working with Governor Shapiro and his administration in helping students attain an affordable college education, while balancing the financial needs of the Commonwealth. As always at Reading Area Community College, our first priority is, and will always remain, advancing the positive outcomes of our students and their families; and preparing them for successful careers in the workforce.”

West Chester University President Chris Fiorentino: “West Chester University is grateful to Governor Shapiro for his commitment to education within the Commonwealth. At West Chester, we’ve worked hard to identify students who have the most need, so we can provide the academic and financial support that will help them cross the finish line. We also have a very proud history of partnering with many community colleges in our area and helping students transfer seamlessly so they can earn bachelor’s degrees. We’re proud of the work that we are doing and thank Governor Shapiro for shining a light on the need to make higher education accessible, affordable and high-quality.”

Chief Equity Officer at the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Majestic Lane: “We could not be happier about Governor Shapiro’s enhanced focus on higher education. Our slate of higher education institutions – collectively offering a diversity of pathways from certificates to PhDs and everything in between – is an incredible asset with the power to fuel growth in southwestern Pennsylvania and across the commonwealth.  A skilled and ready workforce is critical to compete for and win business investment, and our academic institutions are responding to the need to keep the talent pipeline full. The Allegheny Conference supports investment in post-secondary education and stands behind initiatives to create and maintain a variety of options that will provide our residents with the skills and training to contribute to and benefit from being part of a dynamic, future-focused workforce.”

Darrin Kelly, President of the Allegheny-Fayette Labor Council: “This place represents more than just a facility of higher learning – it represents a beacon for a chance that no matter where you come from, no matter what your financial story is, no matter what your career choice is in the future, you can succeed. I would be remiss if I didn’t speak about the great partnership that CCAC has with our skilled trades. These types of partnerships create so many opportunities for apprentices to chart their own path to success, like so many of you are doing right now. Governor – once again, you’ve proven that no matter what agenda you put forth, the most important thing you always do is invest in Pennsylvania’s greatest asset: its people.”


Community College of Allegheny County student Anene Otubelu: “I have a degree in Electrical engineering with a minor in electronics and yet I am pursuing an associate degree in CCAC. Once I graduate from CCAC, I plan to work for a manufacturing company here in the Pittsburgh area – I want to put my skills to work helping to maintain the machines that drive their work and bring prosperity to our region. I’m glad the Governor’s blueprint for higher education will make it easier for more students to get a great education at a college like CCAC.”

Reading Area Community College student Wilfri Peña Rodriguez: “My journey at RACC started a few years back. I was nervous to start because like many Latinos that come to the United States of America, I knew little to no English, not enough to hold a conversation. I decided that I must leave the fear and start because I wanted to do better, make my family proud, and more importantly make myself proud. I took ESL classes, and after completing them, I went on to do the prerequisites classes to be able to apply to become a Licensed Nurse Practitioner after completing my semesters and graduating. I am currently in my last semester of Nursing and am on my way to becoming a Registered Nurse. RACC has been fundamental in my journey. I will forever be grateful for the encouragement, guidance, and opportunities that I’ve received from teachers, staff, and friends that I’ve made along the way.”

Reading Area Community College student Jonathan Pensado: “During my time at RACC, I have loved every minute of it and take pride in being able to attend this school every day. RACC provided me with these opportunities of growth that would not have been possible without it, and I am incredibly grateful for that. When the Governor and Secretary of Education come to town to visit a school that doesn’t get enough recognition, it makes a buzz. you gentlemen, the consensus was very positive. And it’s for a reason, you stand on the side of education, the side of human rights, and Governor Shapiro makes TikToks which is pretty cool.”

Watch what Pennsylvanians are saying about the Shapiro Administration’s new Higher Education Blueprint below.

WPXI: Gov. Shapiro outlines proposed ‘Blueprint for Higher Education’ at local community college

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Gov. Shapiro provides more details on community college, state system consolidation plans during CCAC visit

Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Shapiro touts proposed higher ed overhaul for Pennsylvania during CCAC visit

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Gov. Shapiro releases specifics of higher education restructuring plan in Pittsburgh visit

Fox29: Gov. Shapiro touts plan to improve higher education during tour of Reading Area Community College

Lehigh Valley Business Journal: Governor stops at RACC to tout higher education plans

KYW: Gov. Shapiro discusses his higher education ‘blueprint’ at West Chester University

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