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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rendell Tells PSU to Cut Costs

Yesterday, the Governor met with the Pennsylvania Tuition Coalition, a student group lobbying the state to include state-related schools, like PSU, in the Governor's tuition relief scheme. Rendell told PSU students that if the university implemented reforms, similar to what we suggested in December, it wouldn't need more state funding.

Rendell: "The emphasis has to go back to the students for a while, and that would be the message I would give the board. There has to be a retrenchment."
Our recommendation: Replace direct state subsidies to universities with scholarship grants to students.

Rendell: Penn State just completed the $60 million Dickinson School of Law building. "You know you have two law schools -- do you think there's any reason for a second law school?". . . "This is a problem."
Our recommendation: Holding students, colleges, and universities accountable for the taxpayer support they receive. We've directly addressed the proliferation of unnecessary construction projects at higher education institutions here.

And of course the Governor came through with one of his rhetorical gems: "I bet you my right arm that I could get in here and cut costs by 5 percent."

Now if only we can convince him to drop his video poker scheme and adopt our final recommendation: Consider a re-organization of state higher education, including the possibility of severing the taxpayers’ financial support to state, state-related, and state-aided universities. Hey, I can dream can't I?


Anonymous said...

You know that severing taxpayers’ financial support to state universities would translate into a minimum of a 20-30% increase in tuition at the PASHEE schools at the least, probably more like a 30-40% increase. I am not opposed to that, per se, but are you sure that is wise.

Nathan Benefield said...


Are you suggesting that institutional subsidies keep tuition down? There is no evidence of that - state subsidies have increased while tuition has skyrocketed. The is more evidence than increasing subsidies led to higher tuition.

There is little accountability to schools to keep costs, and thus tuition, low; and school are being rewarded when they threaten to raise tuition, and get additional subsidies.

Our policy report suggests replacing institutional subsidies with funding students directly - specifically scholarships than don't increase as universities charge more.