VIDEOS & TESTIMONIALS: What Pennsylvania Students, Business and Education Leaders Are Saying About Governor Shapiro’s Higher Education Blueprint

Harrisburg, PA – Since taking office, Governor Shapiro has worked to ensure every Pennsylvanian has the freedom to chart their own course and the opportunity to succeed. Last week, the Governor released a bold new blueprint for higher education in Pennsylvania, focused on competitiveness and workforce development, and grounded in access and affordability – and Pennsylvania students, higher education and business leaders, and local elected officials are praising the Governor’s plan. 

Governor Shapiro’s plan will create a new system to unite PASSHE universities and 15 community colleges under a new governance system, increase access and affordability by ensuring Pennsylvanians making up to the median income pay no more than $1,000 in tuition and fees per semester at state-owned universities and community colleges, and increase transparency and improve outcomes by proposing that direct appropriations to publicly funded colleges and universities be distributed on the basis of a predictable, transparent, outcomes-focused formula.

In his budget address on February 6th, Governor Shapiro will propose a significant investment in state-owned universities, community colleges, and the students they serve.

Listen to and read what Pennsylvania students, higher education, business, and government leaders are saying about Governor Shapiro’s higher education blueprint.

Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Greenstein – click here to watch.

“Our universities are the least expensive of all four-year options in the state of Pennsylvania – and still we’re asking students from middle income families to spend 44% of their household income on a single student for a single year at college. It’s an exceptionally high amount. Investing in our people, investing in our students to bring down their costs, investing in our people so that they can continue to learn and create upskill and reskill and learn how to do better by the students that we serve is the only way we’re going to fill that talent gap in this state. It’s the only way we can continue to drive a strong economy and hopefully a healthier and more civil society. The Governor’s proposal promises to bring that back into reach and by doing that, engaging more people, creating more talent, filling more jobs, keeping our economy strong.”

Lincoln University Student Hashone Carry Jr. – click here to watch.

“I attend the nation’s first degree-granting HBCU – Lincoln University of Pennsylvania and I’m a class of 2025 junior. My immediate family didn’t have that college experience. We were on welfare and I just wanted to be the person in my family to help provide that financial stability. It’s so beautiful to be in this space today and have opportunity to speak and share my voice because I do feel a true connection to the Governor and his Administration. The main challenge I deal with is the lack of funding that my university receives. I attend an underrepresented university. I go to a small HBCU. I’m making sure that we allocate the necessary funds to support the institution with an equitable system. I think it’s going to benefit us all. I think it’s going to help out a lot of students and it’ll help an educational landmark, like the nation’s first degree-granting HBCU Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, continue to do what it does best, which is educate leaders for the future. The Governor you know, his asking us questions given us opportunity to speak being hands on, you know, it makes me feel really good and feel very proud to be a Pennsylvania native, and I’m very hopeful for the future.”

Harrisburg Area Community College Student Asia Macklin – click here to watch.

“I’m 29 years old and I’m in my second year – I’m a sophomore. I actually originally wanted to go to college because I was working full time as a correctional officer and I realized I was just ready for a change in career and I wanted to open up more opportunities for myself, so I decided to go back to school. Since I’ve been back, I’ve grown and re-established my love for the school, enough to become vice president of SGA. As a full-time student, I think the education system can use a few improvements – anywhere from funding, to more jobs, to even like an increase in wage. Some of the campuses – especially HACC, we’re a smaller community college so we’re overlooked a ton. And then I would work on making sure students have access to funding while they’re pursuing their education. Knowing that Governor Shapiro’s working on that makes me, as a student, very excited to see the future for the next generation.”

HACC Central Pennsylvania’s Community College President and CEO John Sygielski – click here to read.

“At HACC, we believe that a college education should be accessible to all – no matter their background. Governor Shapiro’s vision of a higher education sector sets Pennsylvanians, including current and future HACC students, up for success by making it easier for them to transfer earned credits, build skills that employers are seeking and save time and money in the process. HACC looks forward to working with Governor Shapiro and the Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education to create pathways to affordable credentials and degrees that will change lives, destinies and family trees in Central Pennsylvania and beyond.”

Temple University President Richard Englert – click here to read.

“We are very grateful to the Governor for his bold initiative in support of higher education in Pennsylvania. Temple is eager to collaborate with the governor’s efforts to support our students, ensure greater access, affordability and excellence in higher education, and spur economic growth in the Commonwealth.”

University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Joan Gabel – click here to read.

“We thank Governor Shapiro for his leadership in putting forth an innovative blueprint to give Pennsylvania students greater opportunities for affordable, high-quality higher education and to bolster the role of colleges and universities like Pitt in driving Pennsylvania’s economic success. Pitt looks forward to working with the Shapiro Administration and the legislature to enact a higher education plan that delivers for students and puts Pennsylvania on a path to a more competitive workforce and a more robust economy.”

Community College of Allegheny County President Dr. Quinton Bullock – click here to read.

“I am encouraged by Governor Shapiro’s vision for a new blueprint for higher education in Pennsylvania. This is a wonderful opportunity for the 10 PASSHE colleges and 15 community colleges to work together to develop a system that is accessible, affordable and creates opportunities for Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth.  I look forward to working with my colleagues and Governor Shapiro to forward this project.”

Clinton County Commissioner Angela Harding – click here to read.

“Governor Shapiro’s Blueprint for Higher Education puts Pennsylvania on a trajectory for success. Not only in creating an equitable pathway to education and training but for students living in rural PA who want educational opportunities and face accessibility, financial, and transportation obstacles.”

Centre County Chamber of Business & Industry President & CEO Gregg Scott – click here to read.

“The Higher Education Blueprint, with its focus on providing greater access for our students, making higher education more affordable for those most in need, and implementing performance-based funding models, while providing transparency and accountability, holds promise for building a stronger future workforce. This, in turn, will enable us to meet the evolving needs of our businesses and communities. The Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County stands firmly behind this vision and advocates for the policies and funding that will contribute to an increasingly educated workforce, ultimately driving our economy forward. I appreciate the Governor’s commitment to addressing these critical issues, and I am grateful to offer my support to such a vital challenge.”

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