The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, or PASSHE, serves more than 110,000 students and employs more than 12,000 faculty and staff, making it a powerhouse in the world of higher education providers.
Over the past few months, PASSHE has made several announcements concerning changes within the system. Here’s what you should pay attention to:
Tuition may keep going up
This year’s flat-rate funding – meaning the budget for higher education neither increased nor decreased – meant a small 3 percent increase in tuition for the 2014-’15 school year to state-wide average of $6,820 for Pennsylvania undergraduates.
If the state’s education budget remains at $412.7 million for a fourth year, faculty and staff cuts as well as tuition increases may continue.
In a Pennlive.com article written by Charles Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), PASSHE Finance Committee Chairman Ronald Henry said this year’s increase is justified as a way to help the schools cover “ the uncontrollable that our institutions have to deal with: pension, health care and energy costs.”
However, Henry pointed out that to continue to increase tuition might discourage incoming students.
“There’s a point where, if you raise tuition too much, you will chase people away…” he stated.
President of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties Ken Mash added, “We now have to do less with less, to the detriment of our students.”
President Fiorentino is one of many to receive a raise
Amidst budget cuts, causing faculty and program cuts, President Michael Fiorentino received a 4 percent ($9,090) increase in pay to $236,350 for the 2014-‘15 fiscal year.
Fiorentino is one of 11 other PASSHE university presidents to receive a raise this year.
According to a pennlive.com article written by Paul Chaplin (email@example.com), “tuition at the 14 state universities has increased by nearly 18 percent, to $6,820, while the total amount of money devoted over that time to the salaries of presidents and chancellors has risen by nearly 23 percent to more than $3.6 million.”
The same article states the national average for similar public institutions was about $273,255 last fiscal year, according to a survey by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.
The highest paid PASSHE institution president this year is Michael Driscoll of Indiana University with a salary of $294,580.
“We are very interested in seeing the specific sizes of the raises because, as a state agency, the system should be open and transparent,” Mash said. “As a general rule, all university employees should be fairly compensated for the work that they do. The commonwealth must properly fund PASSHE so that students’ tuition can be affordable, students can get the courses and services they desperately need, there are no faculty or staff layoffs and all employees are fairly compensated.”