An Open Letter to Pennsylvania Legislators and Taxpayers

From students at California University of Pennsylvania

As students at California University of Pennsylvania, we are sending this open letter in the spirit of gratitude.

Thanks to your support of public higher education, we will be attending our state-owned university free of charge from Feb. 17, 2011, through the end of the academic year. That date marks Tuition Freedom Day, the mathematical date when the tuition funds that we (or our families) have paid for the 2010-2011 academic year are exhausted. 

For the rest of the spring semester, our education will be paid for by a combination of state funding, appropriated through the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, and privately funded scholarships. Those critical non-tuition dollars compensate our excellent faculty, provide us with classrooms and laboratories, and keep our university running.

For nearly every student at Cal U, a college education is a major investment. Although Pennsylvania's state-owned universities have worked hard to remain affordable, Cal U students graduate with an average student loan debt of $22,418. Your financial support is crucial to students and their families who believe in the life-changing value of a college degree.

Recognizing this, we sincerely thank the members of the General Assembly — and every individual Pennsylvania taxpayer — for investing in our education.

Soon many of us will be teachers, healthcare professionals, law enforcement officers, business owners, technicians or other productive members of the workforce. We also will be taxpayers, “paying it forward” to another generation of proud, hard-working and hopeful college students.

Since 1852, California University has been a beacon of hope for students in southwestern Pennsylvania and beyond, and we are determined to play a positive role in the future of our university, our commonwealth and our great nation.

With deepest gratitude,

Bonnie Keener Signature

Bonnie Keener
President, Student Government Association
California University of Pennsylvania

(Submitted on behalf of 9,400 Cal U students in accordance with a resolution passed unanimously by the Student Senate on Nov. 22, 2010)

This letter was endorsed by the following students:

Jennifer Babiak

Mark Bingaman

Jesse Biship

Danae Blaze

Alexandra Brooks

James Cullen

Lena Danka

Jackie Davis

Will Deubner

Jerae Evans

Rachel Fletcher

Jacquelyn Glunz

Desiree Goyette

Walter Harris

Jamese Hawkins

Witney Howard-Williams

Tiffani Howell

Abbe Huffman

Levi Kaczka

Bonnie Keener

Erin Kelly

Christina Kenney

Zoltan Latinovich

Nicole Lowry

Andrea Marcolini

Kevin McEvoy

Mike Mendolia

David Mutich

Sarah Oeler

Bethany Piett

MichaelaPrater

Alex Prunchnik

Jasmin Runner

Meloy Smith

Morgan Smyth

Shane Speicher

Brittaney Stephanik

Shawna Sterlin

Jenna Terchanik

Mike Wagner

Josh Wright