More than one-third of the way through the fiscal year, the Pennsylvania State Senate passed a bill to provide level funding for the Commonwealth’s state-related universities – Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln.
By a 45-5 vote, the chamber sent the bill back to the House which had previously passed a different measure that provided a 7.1 percent increase for the schools. The five negative votes were cast by Sens. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin), Judy Ward (R-Blair), Chris Gebhard (R-Lebanon), Tracy Pennycuick (R-Montgomery), and Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango).
According to the Senate’s bill, the institutions would receive the following:
- Penn State, $242,096,000
- For Penn College of Technology, $29,071,000
- Pitt, $151,507,000
- For Rural Education Outreach, $3,346.000
- Temple, $158,206,000
- Lincoln, $18,041,000
Pressure has increased on lawmakers to act on the funding. A group of Lincoln students walked more than 60 miles to the Capitol to draw attention to the need for money and university leaders wrote a joint letter to the General Assembly urging an end to the bickering.
Gov. Josh Shapiro has supported the bill and has committed in writing to signing both the university-funding bill and a separate bill with transparency measures that already has passed both chambers, according to Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-Indiana).
Manuel Bonder, press secretary for Shapiro, said the governor was encouraged by the vote because the funding is critical, and that the governor knows “the importance of transparency and accountability around tax dollars.” He confirmed the governor would “promptly sign” both bills.
This story will be updated