HARRISBURG – Rep. Eric Nelson (R-Westmoreland) introduced a plan to make higher education more affordable for families. The plan would redirect funding for the University of Pittsburgh to be used to increase Pennsylvania’s investment in direct-to-student grants and state-owned universities.
“Our current college funding process is upside down and Pennsylvania taxpayers are not getting their money’s worth. Students should come first and it’s time to re-evaluate post-secondary education funding,” Nelson said. “Shifting state funds directly to students will help 32,000 more families, regardless of the college, university or technical school they choose.”
House Bill 1489
, the Tuition Reduction Act, ensures current students and newly accepted freshman will not be impacted. The legislation phases in over four years and the University of Pittsburgh would return to private status at the end of the process. Taxpayer funds currently directed to Pitt would instead be used by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) for grants to Pennsylvania students attending technical schools, community colleges and four-year programs, increasing the number of assisted students to more than 140,000.
The current system provides funding to Pitt and other non-preferred institutions regardless of the number of Pennsylvania students enrolled there.
"It's wrong that Pitt will be given $165 million for its 16,700 Pennsylvania undergraduate students, while their neighbors who attend other schools receive significantly less," Nelson said. "Harrisburg should not be picking winners and losers in higher education. It is time for a change."
The 57th Legislative District includes the following Westmoreland County communities: the city of Greensburg; the townships of Hempfield and Salem; and the boroughs of Delmont, Hunker, New Stanton, South Greensburg, Southwest Greensburg and Youngwood.
Representative Eric Nelson
57th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives