Indiana University of Pennsylvania will have visits in the not-too-distant future from both Gov. Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Chancellor Dr. Dan Greenstein.
A spokeswoman for the governor said Wednesday that Wolf plans to visit IUP in mid- to late March as part of his promotion of the Nellie Bly Scholarship Program, a $204 million need-based scholarship meant to close the gap after a student’s Pell Grant and other state grants to enroll in a PASSHE university.
“This scholarship would help students get a college degree and spend less time paying off student loans and more time building a career in Pennsylvania,” Wolf said in Lock Haven on Wednesday, the first stop in a tour that will continue today at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.
“The strength of Pennsylvania’s economy and the vibrancy of its communities depend so much on students who graduate with career-oriented, affordable degrees,” Greenstein said in Lock Haven. “This program represents Gov. Tom Wolf’s commitment to our students and to maintaining public higher education as the engine of social mobility and economic development that it’s meant to be.”
The scholarship is named in honor of Nellie Bly, an Armstrong County native born in 1864 who briefly attended the Indiana Normal School, now IUP, but left due to the cost. Bly went on to make her mark as a journalist, helping to force reforms in the mental health care system.
As for why the tour didn’t start in Indiana, spokeswoman Sarah DeSantis said, “Lock Haven fit with the governor’s schedule.”
As for the legislation enabling the scholarship program, PASSHE’s chief spokesman said much of the detail still is being worked out. “The governor’s office is writing the language (of the legislation),” David Pidgeon said. “It is part of the budget process.”
Greenstein will be testifying as part of that budget process on Feb. 20 before the Senate Appropriations Committee and March 3 before the House Appropriations Committee.
Meanwhile, Greenstein is also preparing for something he has done each semester since being named as PASSHE chancellor, a tour of each of the 14 state-owned universities, beginning Feb. 27 at Shippensburg University. Greenstein is scheduled to be at IUP on April 27.
Pidgeon said the tours have been done for a variety of reasons.
“He likes to listen directly to the campus community,” the PASSHE spokesman said. Topics will include the budget process and the continuing system redesign. “It is also important for him to hear directly from the Indiana community about what is on their minds,” Pidgeon said.