HARRISBURG—Budget hearings are in full swing at the State Capitol today as leaders from the four state-related universities make their case to have funding reinstated. Penn State, Temple and Pitt are all facing major cuts in state funding under Governor Tom Corbett's proposed budget.
Many people are worried that these funding cuts could mean higher tuition for students because schools will likely pass the loss of money on to the kids. But the schools aren't taking the possible cuts lightly. Leaders from PSU, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln Universities are expected to be at the Capitol looking to persuade legislators to give them some money back.
"He should be able to find three point eight percent in lean times, and that`s what we`re in, lean times," said Governor Tom Corbett, (R) Pennsylvania during a sit-down interview with FOX43.
It was a strong and direct message from Governor Corbett to the leaders at Pennsylvania's four state-related universities. Those leaders are expected to be at the State Capitol today to try and get back some of the money the Governor is proposing to cut.
"The state system and the reduction of hundreds of millions of dollars that we`re talking about is only three point eight percent of their operating budget," said Governor Corbett.
While the 30 percent cuts seem like a large number, Governor Corbett says the leaders at Penn State, Pitt and Temple should be able to live without the state funding. This is the second straight year the state related universities are facing significant cuts.
"(There is) a lot of unsustainable spending for the universities. It's tuition increase after tuition increase. They are really not reflecting the current date of our economy," said Representative Seth Grove, (R) Dover.
If this budget is approved, the schools will be staring down a 50 percent reduction in state funding over the past two years. Opponents of the cuts say the schools are simply passing the cost on to the students, thus burying the middle class deeper into debt.
"I don't think giving them less state subsidy is a way to reform the tuition system. That is all that we got from the Governor," said Representative Eugene DePasquale, (D) York.
"The first thing in my mind these universities and colleges should be doing is looking at how can we save money in tuition for these students," Governor Corbett said.
"To provide a sustainable education in the future, they need to start looking at their own house and start reducing their costs a bit," Grove said.
The fourth state-related university is Lincoln which will see level funding this year.
The 14-state universities, including Millersville and Shippensburg, arenot getting off easy. Those schools are facing a 20 percent chop in funding.
Of course, the legislature will have the final decision with a budget vote that needs to happen by June 30.