17 November 2023- Governor Josh Shapiro signs two bills passed by the House and Senate in Pennsylvania this week that would fund all state-related universities as well as make more of those schools’ spending open to Right-To-Know requests.
Shapiro signed both HB 1556 and HB 1461 on Thursday following deliberation from both chambers. HB 1461 provides funding of $242.1M for Pennsylvania State University, as well as $151.5M to the University of Pittsburgh, $158.2M to Temple, and $18.4M to Lincoln University. Additionally, the Pennsylvania College of Technology, which is a subsidiary of Penn State, is receiving $29.9M. While PCT and Lincoln got increased funding of 12% and 21%, respectively, PSU, Pitt, and Temple’s funding remained flat.
Penn State made headlines when it asked the state for more funding, as the school itself grapples with significant monetary problems that have lead to a hike in tuition prices. They originally wanted a 33%, or over $108M, increase in funding. This money, however, is just a drop in the bucket compared to the organization’s behemoth budget.
HB 1556 strengthens Right-to-Know provisions that were lacking in the state related university systems. Prior to its signing, PASSHE, the PHEAA, and all Community Colleges were subject to the provisions of the Right-to-Know law BUT the state related universities were not privy to this information.
This means that more university personnel salaries, benefits, and other financial information would be made available to the public. The authors, Reps Kate Klunk and Ryan Warner, say that this would just bring the universities in line with the other state universities that also receive a significant amount of state funding.