HARRISBURG, PAJanuary 26, 2024 − Today, members of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic caucus praise Governor Shapiro’s new blueprint for higher education, which seeks to expand access to higher education for Pennsylvania’s learners while consolidating governance and moving towards a more predictable, performance-based funding formula.  

“I greet the Governor’s higher education blueprint with excitement.  As we grapple with dysfunction in higher education and the burdens of student loan debt, we must reimagine our systems in Pennsylvania to set up our students for success and prepare them for the demands of the modern workforce,” said Senator Costa. “The Governor’s plan will strengthen our State System of Higher Education and our community colleges, make higher education more affordable for those who want to seek it, and provide a better governance structure providing for better continuity in our workforce training pipeline and for transparency and accountability. I look forward to continued conversations with all partners and stakeholders coming to the table as we go forward in developing this plan.” 

Senator Costa is a proud alumnus of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, as well as the Community College of Allegheny County, where he presently serves as a board member.  

Senator Vincent Hughes, Chair of the Appropriations Committee, said the following:   

“The Governor’s proposal has the potential to transform higher education in Pennsylvania. Making higher education affordable has been priority for me and members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, and I applaud Governor Shapiro’s focus on tackling Pennsylvania’s shortcomings head on. I look forward to hearing more and working with him to make the Commonwealth’s higher education offerings the best in the nation.” 

State Senator Judy Schwank, who sits on the PASSHE board of governors, said the following:   

“The Governor has proposed an innovative plan to revitalize higher education in the Commonwealth. During my tenure as a PASSHE board member, I’ve come to recognize the necessity of approaching higher education in a more comprehensive manner. This blueprint is a great starting point that I am excited to support and help further develop.”  

Governor Shapiro’s blueprint is accessible in full here. Among other things, the blueprint seeks to:  

  • Create a new system for higher education that unites the PASSHE universities and 15 community colleges under a new governance system 
  • Cap tuition at $1000/semester for learners making up to the median income in Pennsylvania 
  • Fund institutions of higher education on a performance-based formula that incentivize increased enrollment, graduation rate, and workforce development in areas of shortage, specifically education and nursing.  

Learn more about the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus’ commitment to an excellent education for every Pennsylvanian here.