A Message to Our Students
UPDATE: June 28: The state House and Senate are poised to adopt a 2011-2012 state general fund budget that would trim the appropriation for PASSHE schools by 18 percent. Also, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) has announced it will pump an additional $50 million from its business earnings into the state grant program to help students meet their college costs.
More information: http://www.passhe.edu/inside/ne/pnp/Pages/default.aspx
On May 25 the state House passed a $27.3 billion Republican-crafted budget and
sent it on to the state Senate for consideration. The budget passed by the
House would reduce funding to PASSHE by 15 percent over the current year’s
total. Funding to the state-related universities would be reduced by 25
percent. Gov. Tom Corbett in March had proposed cutting funding both to PASSHE
and to the four state-related universities by 50 percent.
More information: http://www.passhe.edu/inside/ne/pnp/Pages/default.aspx
UPDATE: The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has posted a Budget Alert on its website. This communication notes that state House Republicans have introduced a budget that would restore some higher education funding. To read this report, click the link below, then click the first item under Budget Alerts, “House Republican Budget.”
UPDATE: The Board of Governors for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has changed the date of its meeting. Instead of meeting in July, the Board will meet on June 30, 2011.
March 9, 2011
To Cal U students and their families:
Like my colleagues throughout the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), I am deeply concerned about the dramatic impact that Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed budget may have on you and your families.
Yesterday’s budget address, in which Governor Corbett proposed cutting the state appropriation to Cal U and the other PASSHE universities by 50%, presented a challenge that may rival any that our University — and our students — have faced in our history.
Although the magnitude of the governor’s budget cut is unprecedented, California University has been preparing for years to operate effectively with less and less funding from the Commonwealth. Our longstanding efforts to boost productivity, conserve energy, and act in entrepreneurial ways will serve us well in this new fiscal climate.
As you may know, public support for public higher education in Pennsylvania, and across the country, has been eroding steadily for more than a generation. In fact, the state share of our budget has been declining steadily by about 1.2% a year since 1984, falling from 63% that year to 30% (excluding federal stimulus funds) in 2010.
The governor’s budget, however, sharply accelerates this trend. Under his plan, the portion of Cal U’s budget supported by state appropriations would decline from about 30% to just 15% in the coming year.
This presents a serious challenge, but it does not change our University’s mission.
Cal U is committed to providing a high-quality education at the lowest possible cost to you, our students. We remain dedicated to creating opportunities that will ensure success both in your careers and in your lives.
The leadership of the State System historically has accepted the challenge of being responsible stewards of public funds. In the words of Chancellor John Cavanaugh, “While we cannot address the impact of the proposed budget cuts only by reducing our costs, we will build on our record of $200 million in cost reductions during the past decade.”
Cal U will continue to support — and build upon — these cost-saving measures. In addition, we will ramp up our University’s efforts, already well under way, to respond to declining public support:
- We will continue to increase productivity and to operate in a cost-effective manner, making the most of every dollar we spend.
- We will continue to pour great energy into fundraising by actively seeking private donations to support student scholarships, the University’s greatest need.
- We will continue to be both innovative and entrepreneurial as we search out new and expanded sources of alternative revenue.
Our primary goal, as always, is student success, measured by the quality of the education we deliver. This end will be ensured by two primary means: a) The creation of a world-class learning environment, including the appropriate use of technology to expand and enhance learning and life; and b) The generation of sufficient human, financial and physical resources to support the University and our students at a very high level.
In the days ahead, decisions will be made in Harrisburg, and here at the University, that will affect you and your families. Many questions will remain unanswered until the state budget is finalized by the General Assembly on or before June 30, 2011, and tuition rates for the next academic year are set by the PASSHE Board of Governors on June 30, 2011. (Please note: This is a NEW DATE for the meeting.)
I will keep you informed about these developments through updates to this website. Please watch for new information.
If you have specific concerns in the meantime, you may contact our Office of Communications and Public Relations. You can reach director Christine Kindl at 724-938-5492 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the past 159 years, California University has weathered many storms. I am confident that our campus community will rise to meet the challenges we face today. And my unwavering commitment to you is this: We will do everything in our power to preserve Cal U as a beacon of hope and a place of opportunity for every student who is willing to work hard to improve his or her life by means of a high quality education.
Angelo Armenti, Jr.
President, California University of Pennsylvania
Frequently Asked Questions
Will there be a larger than usual increase in tuition this year?
Because of the drastic cut in state funding for public higher education, tuition at all state-owned universities is likely to increase more than usual for the 2011-2012 academic year.
For the past 27 years, tuition at Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities has risen by an average of 5.2% a year. It is reasonable to expect a more substantial increase in the coming year.
The new tuition rate will be set by the PASSHE Board of Governors at its meeting June 30, 2011. (PLEASE NOTE: This is a new date for the meeting.)
Will I still be able to afford Cal U?
Yes. At Cal U, more than 90% of our students received nearly $90 million in financial aid assistance from federal, state, institutional and private sources this year.
These financial aid programs will continue to be available to help students and families finance their educational costs at Cal U for the upcoming year.
Even though reports indicate that some of these programs (federal and state grant programs) may experience a decrease in funding, students may be eligible to receive additional loan assistance from federal and/or private loan programs to cover reductions in grant assistance as well as increases in tuition.
Over the years, Cal U students have seen the importance of investing in their education by borrowing and working on and off campus. Studies show that individuals with a bachelor’s degree average 62% higher annual earnings than workers with only a high school diploma.
Your education is the most important investment you will ever make. It really is an investment in your future!
If you have questions about applying for financial aid assistance, the staff in our Financial Aid Office is prepared to help you determine the financing options available to you.
What is Cal U doing to help?
Cal U is working hard to help its students meet the rising cost of higher education. For example:
- Work-study: Since the 1990-1991 academic year, Cal U’s investment in University-funded work-study and graduate assistantships increased from approximately $860,000 to $3 million — an increase of 250 percent over that 20-year period.
- Private fundraising: Cal U’s capital campaign, The Campaign to Build Character and Careers, has set a goal of raising $35 million from private donors to provide scholarships and academic enrichment. So far, the campaign already has raised $25 million toward that goal.
- Entrepreneurial efforts: Cal U was the first university in the State System to use a public-private partnership to construct state-of-the-art, energy-efficient residence halls. The University also has created new revenue streams by providing leadership training to local businesses through the Character Education Institute, and by offering executive conference services at the Convocation Center that will open this fall. Innovative efforts such as these are designed to generate scholarships that help students meet the cost of higher education.
What should I do now?
Please be patient. Pennsylvania legislators have a target date of June 30 for finalizing the state budget, and the Board of Governors is expected to set tuition for the 2011-2012 academic year at its meeting June 30 in Harrisburg. (Please note: This is a NEW DATE for the Board of Governors meeting.)
Many decisions must wait until those steps are taken.
This website will be updated periodically as new information is received. Please check back regularly.