By Valentina Caval (Email Valentina at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
SC Staff Writer
“Stay in school!”, “Going to college will get you a brighter future”, “The future of America lays in the hands of the younger generations.”, “Make something of your life.”, “and Knowledge is power.” How many times in our lifetime have we heard those quotes? Advice about education is something we have no escape from. Growing up education is one of the most important aspects of a child’s life. In most cases, from the day we enter kindergarten, our parents send us on a path to what we know as the road to success.
Education may be high in demand, but it will definitely cost you, literally. A student going to a state college in Pennsylvania as a commuter pays approximately $9,000 a year and a student living on campus pays at least 14,000. Last year, the tuition at East Stroudsburg University increased $1,000. So our decision to attend college already quickly leads us to a lifetime of debt. My question is this: if the government promotes higher education, why is the Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett, continuously proposing budget cuts on, what else but, higher education? We want to improve the performance of public education; obviously, the best way to do that is cut funding. Is that even serious?
Last year, Corbett proposed a budget cut that would cut 53 percent for state owned public education colleges, hitting higher education hard. Fortunately, the budget cut did not pass, and it was reduced to 19 percent. This year, Corbett strikes again, proposing a budget cut that will cut another 20 percent from state schools, and 30 percent from state related universities. This almost reaches his previous goal of 53 percent. The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), which grants financial assistance, scholarships, and grants to students, will be cut 6.4 %. These cuts are said to send the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to funding levels that have not been seen since 1989.
Let’s think about the issue at hand. These budget cuts that Corbett claims will, in time, structure education to be better, are really just hurting the students. The tuition will increase again, programs will be cut, class sizes will increase, and professors will have a risk of getting laid off. While I can understand that the state budget needs to be balanced, it does not make any sense why so much of the budget is coming out of higher education. The special programs universities offers, as well as extracurricular activities, are some of the main things that keep students interested.
These budget cuts do affect you as a student at East Stroudsburg University. Maybe you have trouble getting a seat in a classroom too small for the amount of students in it. Maybe the financial aid you received this year was not as much as previous years. Maybe you have trouble getting into a required class. It is time we tell the governor that education is important and funding is necessary.