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PRINTER'S NO. 2044
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE RESOLUTION
No.
416
Session of
2015
INTRODUCED BY ARGALL, ALLOWAY, TOMLINSON, SCARNATI, MENSCH,
EICHELBERGER, HUTCHINSON, VANCE, DINNIMAN, FOLMER,
VULAKOVICH, WHITE, RESCHENTHALER AND RAFFERTY,
AUGUST 30, 2016
REFERRED TO EDUCATION, AUGUST 30, 2016
A RESOLUTION
Directing the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to
conduct a study and issue a report relating to the long-term
sustainability and viability of the Pennsylvania State System
of Higher Education.
WHEREAS, The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
(PASSHE) was established by the act of November 12, 1982
(P.L.660, No.188); and
WHEREAS, Today the system is the largest provider of higher
education in this Commonwealth, with nearly 107,000 degree-
seeking students and thousands more who are enrolled in
certificate and other career-development programs; and
WHEREAS, Nearly 90% of enrolled individuals are Pennsylvania
residents; and
WHEREAS, Act 188 of 1982 brought together 14 existing State
colleges that varied in size and the number of bachelor degrees
awarded; and
WHEREAS, PASSHE now includes several branch campuses and
multi-institution centers in addition to the 14 main campuses;
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and
WHEREAS, An underlying policy goal of PASSHE's establishment
was to provide greater access to affordable higher education in
Pennsylvania; and
WHEREAS, PASSHE universities have accounted for more than
one-fifth of the bachelor's degrees awarded in Pennsylvania in
recent years, which is critical to the current and future
economy of this Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, Taxpayers of this Commonwealth are increasingly
concerned about the rising cost of higher education; and
WHEREAS, PASSHE represents a significant investment of
taxpayer resources, and it is therefore incumbent upon
policymakers to ensure that the system fulfills its mission; and
WHEREAS, Fluctuating appropriations and enrollment levels
coupled with perpetually increasing administrative costs have
resulted in unprecedented fiscal pressures on PASSHE
universities; and
WHEREAS, The Board of Governors of PASSHE, the Office of the
Chancellor, university presidents and the Councils of Trustees
are concerned about increasing student debt; and
WHEREAS, PASSHE universities are significant economic
enterprises contributing to the overall cultural, educational
and financial success of the regions in which they are located
throughout this Commonwealth; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the Senate direct the Legislative Budget and
Finance Committee to conduct a study and issue a report relating
to PASSHE's long-term sustainability and viability; and be it
further
RESOLVED, That for the purposes of this study, sustainability
and viability include:
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(1) a detailed assessment of all revenue and expenses of
PASSHE, including long-term debt and the current and
projected cost and funding status of health and pension
benefits for at least the next 10 years;
(2) college affordability, including a review of the
price elasticity of tuition and room and board expenses at
PASSHE universities over the next 10 years;
(3) student enrollment trends at PASSHE universities
over the next 10 years;
(4) potential for improved PASSHE efficiencies and
overall cost reductions, including an analysis of faculty
productivity, shared services or potential savings through
university consolidations, closures or mergers;
(5) a review of shared governance within PSAAHE that
includes a review of the powers and duties of the various
parties enumerated in Act 188 of 1982, including the Office
of the Chancellor, the Board of Governors, the university
presidents and the Councils of Trustees;
(6) evaluation of current and future infrastructure
needs at PASSHE universities, including academic buildings,
residence halls and other student-financed buildings and
including a review of deferred maintenance projects and
future information technology needs;
(7) assessment of the contributions made by university
affiliates, subsidiaries and foundations;
(8) a review of the human capital needs at PASSHE
universities, including impending retirements over the next 5
to 10 years along with the course offerings required to meet
future vocational needs; and
(9) assessment of best practices undertaken by
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policymakers in other states to address enrollment and fiscal
pressures in public higher education;
and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee
conduct a comprehensive review of the legislative intent of Act
188 of 1982 and system policies, procedures and shared
governance to determine whether current practices, policies and
procedures are consistent with the language, intent and
underlying policy of the act; and be it further
RESOLVED, That, in compiling its report, the Legislative
Budget and Finance Committee seek input from PASSHE, the Board
of Governors, the Office of the Chancellor, the Councils of
Trustees, the university presidents, the faculty, university
alumni, business leaders, university students and any other
person who may have relevant information; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee
report its findings and recommendations to the Senate no later
than May 1, 2017.
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