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PRINTER'S NO. 1124
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
993
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY BRIGGS, ROEBUCK, HILL-EVANS, KINSEY, CALTAGIRONE,
SCHLOSSBERG, SOLOMON, T. DAVIS, FREEMAN, ZABEL, DeLUCA,
MULLINS, CIRESI, WARREN, MURT, KORTZ AND STURLA,
MARCH 27, 2019
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION, MARCH 27, 2019
AN ACT
Amending the act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), entitled "An
act relating to the public school system, including certain
provisions applicable as well to private and parochial
schools; amending, revising, consolidating and changing the
laws relating thereto," in preliminary provisions,
establishing the Higher Education Funding Commission and
providing for its powers and duties.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. The General Assembly finds that:
(1) This Commonwealth has a diverse array of
institutions of higher education with a variety of missions
and strengths.
(2) Higher education is a critical mechanism for
socioeconomic advancement among aspiring individuals and an
important driver of economic mobility in our society.
(3) A well-educated workforce is vital to our future
economic growth.
(4) Institutions of Higher Education contribute to the
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quality of life in their communities and provide services
such as medical facilities, research centers, libraries,
sports, art and cultural events.
(5) All residents of this Commonwealth benefit from the
skills and education gained by students at our institutions
of higher education.
(6) To secure these benefits for its residents, the
Commonwealth invests significant public resources to support
these institutions.
(7) To maximize these benefits for residents, the
Commonwealth should continue to partner with the institutions
to promote greater accessibility, affordability and usability
of postsecondary education in this Commonwealth.
(8) The future of this Commonwealth depends in part on
the ability of public and private institutions of higher
education to continue to fulfill their missions.
Section 2. The act of March 10, 1949 (P.L.30, No.14), known
as the Public School Code of 1949, is amended by adding a
section to read:
Section 128. Higher Education Funding Commission.--(a) The
Higher Education Funding Commission is established.
(b) The commission shall review and make recommendations
related to higher education funding as provided in this section.
(c) (1) The commission shall consist of the following
members:
(i) The chair and minority chair of the Education Committee
of the Senate and the chair and minority chair of the Education
Committee of the House of Representatives or their designees.
(ii) Two (2) legislators from each of the four (4)
legislative caucuses, to be appointed by the President pro
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tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives, in consultation with the Majority Leader and
Minority Leader of the Senate and the Majority Leader and
Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
(iii) The Secretary of Education or a designee.
(iv) The Deputy Secretary for Higher Education or a
designee.
(v) An individual appointed by the Governor from within the
Governor's Administration.
(2) The commission shall appoint a member to serve as chair
of the commission.
(d) The commission shall hold its first meeting within
forty-five (45) days of the effective date of this section,
regardless of whether the Governor or all legislators have been
appointed.
(e) The commission shall hold meetings at the call of the
chair.
(f) The members may not receive compensation for their
services but shall be reimbursed for all necessary travel and
other reasonable expenses incurred in connection with the
performance of their duties as members of the commission.
(g) The General Assembly shall provide administrative
support, meeting space and any other assistance required by the
commission to carry out its duties under this section in
cooperation with the department. The department shall provide
the commission with data, research and other information upon
request by the commission.
(h) The commission shall develop a higher education funding
formula and identify factors that may be used to determine the
distribution of higher education funding among the school
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districts in this Commonwealth. The factors identified under
this subsection may include all of the following:
(1) Projected revenue and expenses, including long-term debt
and the current and projected cost and funding status of health
and pension benefits for at least the next five (5) years.
(2) College affordability, including the effect on
enrollment trends over the next five (5) years, taking into
account the costs and fees levied on students who attend
traditional classes and on students who take online courses.
(3) The potential for improved efficiencies and overall cost
reductions between the public institutions of higher education.
(4) Current and future infrastructure needs at all the
public institutions of higher education, including academic
buildings, residence halls and other student-financed buildings,
as well as a review of deferred maintenance projects and future
information technology needs.
(5) The contributions made by any affiliates, subsidiaries,
foundations, local sponsors or other entities.
(6) The adequacy of State support for institutions of higher
education.
(7) Best practices undertaken by policymakers in other
states to address enrollment and fiscal pressures in public
higher education.
(8) An analysis of current efforts by institutions of higher
education to improve financial literacy as it relates to the
costs associated with the attainment of an associate degree or
higher.
(9) The economic impact of institutions of higher education
on their communities.
(10) Gaps and opportunities for collaboration with basic
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education, work force development programs, economic development
and other related systems.
(11) Using data from the most recent year available, provide
a list of all public and private institutions of higher
education with students who receive grant money from the
Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency and the grant
amounts awarded to each institution.
(12) Geographic price differences identified for each
institution of higher education.
(13) Whether an institution of higher education has
experienced exceptionally high enrollment growth.
(14) Other factors related to the distribution of higher
education funding.
(i) The commission shall have all of the following powers
and duties:
(1) Review and make findings and recommendations related to
higher education funding in this Commonwealth.
(2) Consult with and utilize experts to assist the
commission in carrying out the duties under this subsection.
(3) Receive input from interested parties, including, but
not limited to, school districts and charter and cyber charter
school operators.
(4) Hold public hearings in different regions of this
Commonwealth.
(5) Review and consider higher education funding formulas
and factors utilized throughout the United States.
(6) In identifying the higher education funding factors
under subsection (h) and in completing the report required under
this subsection, consider the impact these factors may have on
the distribution of higher education funding among the
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institutions of higher education.
(7) Review the administration of Federal and State higher
education programs and services to determine if cost savings may
be achieved and make recommendations to implement the savings.
(8) Prior to recommending a higher education funding formula
under this section, consider the potential consequences of a
higher education funding formula that does not allocate to each
institution of higher education at least the same level or
proportion of State higher education funding as the institution
received in the prior school year.
(9) Prior to recommending a higher education funding formula
under this section, consider nationally accepted accounting and
budgeting standards.
(10) Develop a proposed higher education funding formula and
factors pursuant to subsection (h).
(11) Draft proposed regulations and proposed legislation
based on the commission's findings.
(12) Issue a report of the commission's findings and
recommendations to the Governor, the State Board of Education,
the Secretary of Education, the President pro tempore of the
Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the
Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the Senate, the Majority
Leader and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, the
Education Committee of the Senate and the Education Committee of
the House of Representatives not later than one year after the
effective date of this section.
(j) The higher education formula developed by the commission
shall not go into effect unless the formula is approved by an
act of the General Assembly enacted after the effective date of
this section.
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(k) Every five (5) years the commission shall be
reconstituted in accordance with subsection (c) and shall meet
and hold public hearings to review the operation of the higher
education funding provisions of this section, shall make a
further report and shall issue the report to the recipients
listed in subsection (i)(12).
(l) As used in this section, the following words and phrases
shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection unless
the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Commission." The Higher Education Funding Commission
established by this section.
"Department." The Department of Education of the
Commonwealth.
Section 3. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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