– Board Member and Speaker of the House Mike Turzai voted against a 2.99 percent increase in tuition for in-state students at Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) schools, along with three other PASSHE board members. Speaker Turzai said today the increased appropriation of state tax dollars should have prevented a tuition increase. The money appropriated is, of course, paid by Pennsylvania taxpayers.
“To help Pennsylvania students better afford college, this year’s state budget increased PASSHE’s funding by more than 3.3 percent over last year,” said Turzai. “We had hoped that, given four straight increases in appropriations to the state system, that the board would see fit this year to not increase Pennsylvania students’ tuition. When legislators voted for the fourth straight increase in state funding, many members’ vote was predicated upon an expectation that the PASSHE universities would hold the line on tuition.”
The governor and legislature increased state funding by $15 million, to $468 million, for the state system for the 2018-19 fiscal year, while projected enrollment is expected to decline by 2.2 percent from last year. State investment in PASSHE has increased 13.4 percent over the last four years. Further, over the last three years, the board has increased tuition by 3.5 percent in 2015-16, by 2.5 percent in 2016-17 and 3.5 percent in 2017-18.
Speaker Turzai just joined the board to attend his first meetings on July 12-13, filling the seat previously held by former state Rep. Matt Baker.
Despite the increased funds, personnel costs – salaries and benefits – increased from $1.232 billion to $1.268 billion for this upcoming year, an increase of $35.5 million dollars. Salaries and benefits account for 75 percent of PASSHE’s expenditures.
Representative Mike Turzai
Speaker of the House
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Paul Engelkemier