26 June 2023- Several Pennsylvania House Republican lawmakers gathered on Monday to discuss the need to have a conversation on student-first, family-focused concepts to funding Pennsylvania’s institutions of higher education, particularly state-related universities.
The press conference was held after weeks of the House Democratic Majority silencing Republican ideas and refusing to negotiate budget-related legislation.
“If there are budget-related bills for which people are counting on House Republican votes to get across the finish line, then those votes need to be earned through our inclusion in negotiations and a fair hearing on the floor,” said House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster).
“When we look at our state-related institutions, particularly Pitt, Penn State and Temple, many of our members continue to ask why we should continue to support these educational systems directly when so much has changed and we have both the means and the ability to fund the students themselves and empower families,” Cutler added.
Rep. Eric Nelson (R-Westmoreland), who has sponsored one of several concepts put forward by House Republicans – a proposal to fund students directly – noted his proposal would create a fairer way of supporting students and families who are pursuing education after high school.
“Pennsylvania should not be funding our most wealthy institutions to the detriment of our poorest families,” Nelson said. “We must continue to look at ways we can make higher education accessible and affordable for Pennsylvanians while being smart with taxpayer dollars.”
Rep. Rob Mercuri (R-Allegheny) noted funding students instead of institutions keeps Pennsylvania’s commitment to both students and families through ensuring a long-term, future-focused, and legislatively supportable means of direct aid and affordability.
“By funding students and families directly, we honor our commitment to Pennsylvania’s students and families by ensuring they have the assistance they need to make education here affordable and accessible. It puts students first by empowering them directly. It shows parents and students we have their backs,” Mercuri said. “It allows students to see the return on investment they get from the Commonwealth who is supporting their higher learning and allows them to understand that their education and work in school has meaning and value to Pennsylvania as a whole.”