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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 11, 2019 10:13 AM
From: Senator Patrick M. Browne and Sen. Ryan P. Aument
To: All Senate members
Subject: Public Higher Education Funding Commission
In the near future, we will be introducing legislation to establish the Public Higher Education Funding Commission. This Commission will review and make recommendations related to higher education funding including a higher education funding formula and higher education issues.

Membership of the Commission will include the chairs and minority chairs of the Appropriations and Education Committees in the Senate and House of Representatives. Two legislators shall be appointed by the President Pro Tempore and two legislators by the Speaker of the House. One legislator shall be appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate and one legislator by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives. Also, the Secretary of Education shall be a member of the commission.

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. Factors identified may include: goals for higher education; the Commonwealth’s higher education needs; affordability of higher education; graduation and retention rates; student debt; student financial aid, including programs operated by PHEAA; job placement and wages; appropriate level of state support to maintain operations and appropriate level of formula driven funding to incentivize success.

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; develop a proposed higher education funding formula including factors; and draft proposed legislation based on the Commission’s findings.

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.

Please join us in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as SB536