By Leah Morrison
When the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) began in the 1980s,, the state paid 75 percent of college costs for students attending public universities, leaving parents and students to pay the remaining 25 percent.
However, today the ratio has reversed completely, leaving parents and students paying 75 percent and the state only paying 25 percent.
During his presidency, Barack Obama created a stimulus plan that gave PASSHE nearly $500 million to aid public education and ensure quality programs.
After the money was used in 2011, PASSHE no longer had outside funding and was forced to reduce spending on public education, by cutting faculty numbers and merging departments.
Recently, there have been even more reductions when the former governor of Pennsylvania created 20 percent deeper cuts.
These cuts raised the cost of tuition to parents and students and also lowered the quality of the education, as programs lost their funding and disappeared altogether from college curriculums.
One solution to this problem was Governor Tom Wolf’s proposal to reinstate the stimulus by distributing $1.8 billion to education in his budget plan. However, this budget was not passed by the state senate.
Until another budget is passed, students must endure the loss of many programs, and the loss of individual attention as a result of reduced faculty.
The Assosciation of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) has decided to step in.
APSCUF is the faculty union representing all 14 public universities. They meet at 2 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of the month during the academic semesters to discuss the needs of the PASSHE schools.
In response to this issue of funding, ESU’s chapter of APSCUF is reaching out to more than just faculty. They now include students and alumni to help advocate for fair funding for public education.
On Feb. 8, APSCUF will attend a rally in Harrisburg. This rally is for everyone interested including faculty, parents, students and alumni from all public universities across Pennsylvania.
The ultimate goal of the rally is to restore funding to where it was five years ago, when Obama implemented the stimulus.
Students are strongly encouraged to attend this rally wearing school spirited apparel.
Media outlets covering the rally are prepared to capture the event, with high hopes that there will be a large presence of dedicated students from each of the 14 universities.
Students are asked to join in the conversation with state legislators, some of which are alumni from PASSHE universities.
Along with school apparel, students are encouraged to bring signs.
Homemade posters are often effective, and will be photographed by the media. Slogans being encouraged are “#FundOrFail,” “Quality Education Isn’t Free,” “Students deserve Better,” or any other sayings to describe the students’ arguments.
The bus ride to the rally from ESU is free of charge for students.
The goal is to take a thirty-three-passenger bus, but if APSCUF doesn’t get enough students to participate and fill the bus, members of APSCUF suggest carpooling and are offering to pay the mileage.
The filled bus would leave ESU at 9:00 a.m. and return around 5:00 p.m.
If interested in attending the rally, or for more information about APSCUF and their efforts, please contact Toni Heller (email@example.com), or RSVP at facebook.com/apscuf.
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