Our very own Journalism/English faculty member and APSCUF Legislative Assembly delegate Chuck Bauerlein published this excellent letter in the Sunday Philly Inquirer–
In an article Monday (“On college funding, Corbett is half-right”), Timothy R. Lannon argues that slashing assistance to Pennsylvania’s 14 state universities and its state-related universities is a splendid idea – as long as Gov. Corbett shovels a percentage of the savings to students attending schools such as his, St. Joseph’s University, in the form of Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency grants. He figures “$78 million, or about 12 percent of the institutional aid reduction,” would be a nice figure.
This would indeed assist the students who attend private institutions. It would help defray the expensive tuition that schools such as St. Joseph’s charge (between $35,000 and $40,000 a year). It would also be akin to providing school vouchers, and would encourage families to send their children to private or Christian schools instead of public schools.
It would, however, hurt those lower- and middle-class families who cannot afford to send their sons and daughters to private universities. In-state tuition at the university where I teach is still less than $6,000 a year, a bargain compared with St. Joseph’s.
Corbett’s budget cuts will likely mean an increase in tuition at the state’s public universities. But parents who can afford to send their children to private Catholic schools should not benefit from those cuts.
Assistant professor of journalism
West Chester University
Thanks, Chuck, for making this case so directly. “Public money for higher ed” isn’t all created equal.