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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 13, 2019 09:00 AM
From: Representative Tim Briggs and Rep. James R. Roebuck, Jr.
To: All House members
Subject: Commission on Higher Education Funding
We are preparing to introduce legislation that will address the current inequities in higher education funding across the Commonwealth by forming a legislative commission to review and make recommendations concerning higher education funding.

As you know, Pennsylvania has a diverse array of public institutions of higher education with a variety of missions and strengths. All Pennsylvania residents benefit from the skills and education gained by students at our public institutions of higher education. To secure these benefits for our residents, we invest substantial public resources to support these important institutions.

In order to maximize these benefits, we must continue to partner with these institutions to promote greater accessibility, affordability and usability of post-secondary education in this Commonwealth. The future of the Commonwealth depends in part on the ability of our public institutions of higher education to continue to fulfill their missions.

Our bill will establish a commission to review and make recommendations concerning higher education funding. The commission, which will consist of members of all four legislative caucuses and representatives of the Department of Education and the Office of the Budget. The Commission shall develop a higher education funding formula and identify factors that may be used to determine the distribution of funding among the public institutions of higher education. These factors may include: goals for higher education; higher education needs; affordability; student debt; student financial aid, and available programs; job placement and wages; and appropriate level of state support.

The Commission will review and make findings and recommendations related to higher education funding; consult with experts; receive input from interested parties; hold hearings across the state; review and consider funding formulas from other states; identify higher education funding factors; review the administration and operation of higher education programs and services and make recommendations; determine if cost savings and efficiencies can be achieved for the Commonwealth and students and make recommendations; and develop a proposed higher education funding formula including factors.

A report will be issued by the Commission of its findings and recommendations one year after the enactment of the legislation. The higher education formula will only be effective if approved by an act of the General Assembly. Every five years, the Commission shall be reconstituted to meet and hold public hearings to review the operation of the recommendations related to the funding formula and issue a report.

This information will allow us as lawmakers to make more informed decisions that will ensure the long-term viability of this important part of our state's economic and educational strength. We hope you will join us in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB993