Pa. System's Board Approves Request for Redesign Funding

October 18, 2019

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education will be able to seek as much as $100 million over five years above and beyond its regular state funding requests after its board approved a measure Thursday to try to fund parts of a closely watched redesign effort.

If Pennsylvania lawmakers agree to the additional funding, it would go toward priorities like online learning, information technology services and a shared services consortium. The consortium is under development with leaders hoping it can harness the 14-university system's scale in order to find cost savings over the long term.

System chancellor Dan Greenstein will work with board leaders to determine how much additional funding to request from lawmakers each year, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The Board of Governors had discussed authorizing extra funding requests totaling as much as $300 million, but a lawmaker on the board raised questions about whether his colleagues would support such a sum.

The system's budget totals $2.3 billion, and it will ask lawmakers for $487 million in its regular 2020-21 request, according to the Inquirer. The system is widely considered to be on an unsustainable financial path and has lost students over the last decade, with enrollment falling by almost a fifth since peaking in 2010 at just under 120,000 students.

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