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PASSHE’s Jennifer Hoover said that the system seeks “an increase of $37.7 million, to ensure continued access to and affordability of a high-quality education for the citizens of the Commonwealth.”

In February, Gov. Tom Wolf proposed an increase of $7 million, or 1.5 percent, over 2018-19, to $475 million. However, PASSHE officials observed at that time it would leave the system receiving less than it did in the 2006-07 school year.

Echoing calls made then and at an April 10 “Advocacy Day” gathering of PASSHE students, faculty, staff and alumni at the state Capitol, Hoover urged PASSHE supporters to tell lawmakers “that support for the State System is support for the future of Pennsylvania.”

As has been said previously by officials in the state system as well as at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the 14 universities “provide students with access to high-value, in-demand programs that prepare them to meet the employment needs of the commonwealth, as well as prepare them for successful lives as contributing, responsible citizens,” Hoover wrote.

“Funding at the requested level combined with a Board (of Governors)-approved tuition decision, which typically occurs in July, would allow the universities to address affordability issues for Pennsylvania’s low- and middle-income families, thus improving higher education opportunities.”

She also said increased funding would enable the universities to invest in new and innovative academic programs that address workforce needs of employers in the commonwealth, and in student retention efforts that will help more students achieve success through to graduation.