PA Governor Corbett Won’t Support Budget w/out Ready to Succeed Scholarships

Steve Esack of the Allentown Morning Call reports that House Republicans in the Pennsylvania legislature are proposing a “bare-bones $28.6 billion ‘budget scenario'” for 2014-15. The plan is a response to a projected $1.3 billion budget shortfall faced by the Commonwealth by the end of the next budget cycle.

Among other things the House GOP proposal includes

Five percent cuts in all state departments — with the exception of reductions to basic education, special education, preschools, state-funded universities and the state’s college loan program.

According to Budget Secretary Charles Zogby, Governor Corbett

does not support a bare-bones budget that removes proposals he made in February to spend $400 million more for public education, create a $25 million college scholarship for middle class students and $5.4 million more to reduce the waiting list for disabled adults to find community-based homes.

CSCubed applauds the House GOP plan’s preservation of existing funding for education. However, with college tuition and student debt both undergoing dramatic increases we stand with Governor Corbett’s proposals to raise education funding. We are particularly supportive of the $25 million Ready to Succeed Scholarship (RTSS) program. RTSS has been CSCubed’s #1 priority for the past two years. For more information on RTSS please click here.

Higher Education – 2016 Presidential Debate Topic Without Question

by Kyle Purchase

The next presidential debate is in two years and likely runners such as Jeb Bush (kin to Presidents 41 & 43) as well as Hillary Clinton, want to express how crucial higher education is and how important it is for it to be affordable.

“Higher education in America has a growing affordability problem while billions in the developing world struggle with accessibility. Exporting U.S. post-secondary education and global consumers at scale can help really resolve both issues simultaneously”

Bush said. “Expanding access through technology can bring down the cost of delivery at home and abroad.” Jeb Bush is pushing the fact that connecting the two issues together might be able to solve one another.

Mrs. Clinton had this to add:

“…that we’re closing the doors to higher education in our own country so this great model that we’ve had that has meant so much to so many is becoming further and further away from too many.”

If we don’t solve this problem now, nobody might not want to go to college due to the fear of debt or a lack of jobs available in the their degree field. Normally in a presidential election candidates will talk about the economy or foreign policy and education, higher education especially, isn’t mentioned a great deal. If the economy is being talked about, they need to make sure they say something about higher education.–election.html

STATE SEN. ANDY DINNIMAN: Higher Education in Pa. must Change with the Times

By Gary Masino

Pennsylvania State Senator Andy Dinniman recently wrote a column discussing the difficulties faced by the Commonwealth’s State System of Higher Education. He stated that fiscal and demographic problems in the state will have to be resolved or the system will collapse.

At the Senate Appropriations hearing, the State System Chancellor explained that the system needs $61 million more than the governor budgeted and will certainly have a 3 percent tuition increase and even more if that money is not provided.

He stresses that the PA Constitution requires that the first legislative budget obligation is to fund the k-12 public schools, and that every dollar taken away from k-12 will increase local schools property taxes.

About three years ago, after the first budget cuts, Gov. Corbett appointed an Advisory Commission on Higher Education. A year later, their report was issued. That report lays gathering dust on endless desks in Harrisburg because no one wants to deal with fiscal demographic and change realities.

 The report bluntly stated: “In recognition of an overall decline in the rate of growth of post secondary institutions, competition for funding, potential duplication of services and geographically underserved areas, efforts must be focused on the efficient and effective delivery of services and the sustainability of our post secondary system into the future.”

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Whats the Problem With College Debt?

by Mike Acciavatti

This week I read a very interesting article which addressed the idea of college cost. It gave a perspective of not just the normal, run of the mill ideas on how to make college more affordable for your family. One such point was that the wealth gap in this country “isn’t just the broad chasm that separates the rich and poor, but the gap between the rich and everyone else.”

The article also states that the decreasing middle class is pushing more people lower in class than up. This is seen as a critical problem because a person who spends most of their “bread winning” years paying off a previous debt instead of spurring the economy with big purchases such as a house, car etc… is actually detrimental to the society as whole. The article states that making up a previous debt, though better than defaulting, is not necessarily a great thing for the economy of a country.

One potential solution is a work early program which a number of colleges have already instituted. The program creates a means of graduating high school with a fast track into college, whether that is by actual credits earned or at least a full game plan and a 4 year graduation strategy. In return for these things the students themselves must get good grades, have a strong work ethic, and be willing to work at least part time in college. Overall the problem addressed is the decades a person graduating from college spends simply paying off debt and not contributing. If we stop this we can stop the unending cycle of debilitating college debt.

Lowering College Textbook Cost

by Patrick Lamarra

When the California Gold Rush was in full swing by the 1850’s, many Americans were hoping to make it rich by striking that large pocket of gold unknown to anyone else. Some saw this as the easiest way to get rich at the time. Unfortunately for many, not as much gold was found as believed to have been but a different type of business did manage to thrive. In the words of Mark Twain, “During the gold rush it’s a good time to be in the pick and shovel business.” Here people saw a need created by the ever-growing consumers and exploited it. By looking at college education in a broad sense, one can find another group leeching on the back of the growing college cost. That group happens to be College textbook companies. For as long as colleges have been around, the textbook companies have been receiving cash and checks from students that range anywhere form $50-$600. A new strategy put forward in Maryland looks to end the pesky parasite of college textbook cost. Using electronic textbooks, the strategy looks to bring down the cost of college textbooks to zero. The strategy in itself would help to not only bring down the cost of attending college, but also help to revolutionize the way that college classes are taught. To learn more on the strategy to end college textbook cost read the article below.

CSCubed Member Ameer Sorrell in the Press

Ameer Sorrell, a member of College Students Concerned by College Costs, received a write up in The Daily Journal.


The story discussed our April 1, 2014 trip to Harrisburg for AICUP Student Lobby Day. Ameer and the rest of CSCubed was advocating for more grants to middle income college students.

Check out the story here.


A New Perspective

by Andrea Stickley

For the past two years, CSCubed’s focus has been on creating a new grant program for students in the middle-income class range because studies have shown that they’re incurring the most debt from college. A recent study conducted by a Dartmouth assistant professor found that about 41% of students left school with some level of debt. However, the surprising results came from the fact that it was the lower-middle-income class ($40,000-$59,000) have the most debt post graduation. In this study, these students had more debt than those from families earning between $60,000-$99,000. While this doesn’t downplay the fact that advocating for grants for students whose parents earn between $80,000-$110,000, it does give me pause to think about those other students who are affected by debt. Everyone out there, from any range of income level, can suffer from college debt. So let’s not forget about those other students outside of our range of focus that are incurring debt because one day they may start advocating for the same thing that we’re currently doing.