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State Schools Struggle for Funding

Pennsylvania's state-owned universities are in an uncomfortable situation. Declining student enrollment numbers have left universities like Edinboro, Clarion, East Stroudsburg and Mansfield with less tuition revenue and the unfortunate task of cutting programs and faculty.

In the increasingly competitive higher education market, these state schools are struggling to retain students.

To address this competition, schools add more amenities that budgets may not allow.

“That kind of arms race is expensive and draining,” says Steve Hicks, President of the Association of PA State College and University Faculties.

To compete with other institutions, Universities have begun to offer suite-style living quarters for students, but this often requires the school to cut programs or staff elsewhere.

Additionally, schools must also comply with more stringent data output requirements that demand more administrative work. Hicks finds that instead of time devoted to instruction, these schools are  focused on more bureaucratic efforts.

Many have started to hire presidents that can work with private institutions and run fundraisers to increase revenue, but according to Hicks, finding those kinds of leaders has been difficult.

WESA will be surveying Pennsylvania candidates for federal and state office for the 2022 general election — tell us which issues are most important to you.