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Gov. Josh Shapiro Friday proposed a $1,000 cap on tuition and fees per semester, at state-owned universities for families earning up to $70,000.
His plan also calls for a $1,000 increase to the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency grants that can be used at state-related and independent colleges.
The proposals are part of Shapiro administration’s reorganization of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), which includes state-owned schools such as Bloomsburg Commonwealth University, Cheyney University and West Chester University, along with state-related schools, including Pennsylvania State University, Lincoln University and Temple University.
State-related schools — those which are not owned by the Commonwealth — still receive a substantial amount of funding from the Pennsylvania government. The system also includes the state’s 15 community colleges.
Cheney and Lincoln are Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
The announcement, which Shapiro described as a new blueprint for higher education, will focus on “competitiveness, workforce development, access and affordability.” It comes just days from Feb. 6, when he will present his budget address. At that time, Shapiro said he will also propose “a significant investment” in the state-owned university system, community colleges and their students.
“Every Pennsylvanian deserves the freedom to chart their own course and opportunity to succeed,” Shapiro said in a statement. “For some that means going right into the workforce — but for those who want to go to college or get a credential, we need to rethink our system of education.”
Whether seeking to brush up on skills, qualify for a promotion, or pursuing a degree that leads to a career, education should be accessible and affordable, he said.
“That’s true for every student, whether you attend one of our historic HBCUs, a community college, a PASSHE institution, a state-related university, or an independent college or university,” he said.
According to Shapiro the blueprint came out of his Higher Education Working Group, made up of educational leaders throughout the state.