Harrisburg – Sending out its best ambassadors – students – Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education will descend on the Capitol April 16 to express a clear message – support for public higher education is essential to the future of the commonwealth.
In just a few hours of activity, student-led teams will meet with more than 70 legislators in their offices, talking about their educational experiences and the value of the education they are receiving at a PASSHE university. The students will be accompanied by university presidents, administrators, trustees and alumni.
But it really is their opportunity to express themselves.
“This is an opportunity for our students to tell their stories, to let legislators know how important the education they are receiving at a PASSHE university is to their future, and to the future of the commonwealth,” said PASSHE acting Chancellor Dr. Peter H. Garland. “There really is no one better to relay that message.”
Many of the lawmakers with whom the PASSHE teams will meet already know what PASSHE universities have to offer. They’re putting their own PASSHE education to good use.
Thirty-three House members and eight senators are graduates of state system universities. Thirteen of those alumni legislators represent districts in which a PASSHE university is situated. In all, nearly one-fourth of the members of the Legislature are either PASSHE university alumni or have a PASSHE university in their district, or both.
The rest? Many are about to receive a quick lesson.
PASSHE is the largest provider of higher education in the commonwealth, with the 14 universities combined enrolling about 115,000 students. Almost 90 percent of those are Pennsylvania residents and eight of 10 will remain in Pennsylvania after graduation to take their first job or to enroll in graduate school. About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in the commonwealth.
“PASSHE universities are major contributors to Pennsylvania’s economy,” Garland said. “In several of the communities in which they are located, they are the largest employer. They all work closely with employers throughout their regions, designing programs to match employer needs and providing valuable services to help them succeed.”
PASSHE universities provide the lowest-cost four-year degree programs in the commonwealth. The average total cost of attendance at a PASSHE university is $864 below the average among all four-year colleges and universities in the United States, and $2,558 below the average in the Middle States region, which comprises Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., according to the latest College Board Survey.
The vast majority of the universities’ academic programs are accredited by professional organizations nationally, and many are ranked among the best in the United States by a variety of sources. Top-rated programs include those in art, including commercial design and animation; business; computer security; education and nursing.
The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and the Philadelphia Multi-University Center in Philadelphia.
For more information about PASSHE, or any of the universities, please go to: www.passhe.edu.