These policies would predominantly impact working-class and low-income students across the board. They would also provide a path for our state legislature to continue defunding the state system, which is already at a historic low. The Chancellor and Board should instead be using the power of their office to push for policies which provide a path towards full funding free and accessible college for all. This means rejecting PASSHE-wide increases, and any individual campus policies that raise tuition or fees.
We stand for a state system that helps students and our communities thrive. The reasons behind our demands are simple: Tuition and fees at PASSHE have gone up more than 20% in recent years, thanks in part to misleading “pay-per-credit hour” schemes. The result? Greater student debt—over $30,000 for every graduating student in Pennsylvania, the highest average of any state. Meanwhile, the state only contributes 13% towards the final cost of tuition. In addition, most students and campus workers receive poverty wages for work-study, food service, subcontract work, and other campus work. This leaves working class and low-income students unable to pay for school, care for our families, and support our basic needs; in addition to the rigors of their academic work.
PASSHE is a public system funded by taxpayers and students. It should be prioritizing policies and programs that support and protect students, campus workers, faculty, and our communities; rather than driving us further into debt. As the Pennsylvania Student Power Network, we are committed to fighting for economic and racial justice and a higher education system that is free, accessible, and equitable for all.