Feb. 21, 2024

Dr. Daniel Greenstein, the Chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), testified today before the House Appropriations Committee. House Republicans focused their questions on the fiscal health of the 11 Universities under the PASSHE system. Additionally, Republicans asked about the potential issues with Governor Shapiro’s opaque “blueprint” for Higher Education and its impact on PASSHE schools.

House Republicans were taken aback when the Chancellor stated in his opening remarks, referring to the lack of details made available by Governor Shapiro regarding his proposal to merge PASSHE and Community Colleges funding into one line-item, “The information that I have, is the information that you have, it’s what’s available to the public.” This statement coupled with the lack of the Chancellor’s involvement in creating the new funding scheme was also a surprise to Democrat Chairman Harris, who stated during his questioning “You are the Chancellor, the new proposal is this one board, I am assuming you would still be involved, but you’re not involved in anything currently.”

Key Takeaways

· Governor Shapiro offered a “blueprint” to change Pennsylvania’s higher education system with very few details provided to BOTH the General Assembly and PASSHE. Today’s hearing confirmed this fact.

- Before the governor touts this “blueprint” any further House Republicans would like to see details on what the governor wants to achieve and what problems it will fix.

· House Republicans pressed Chancellor Greenstein to keep costs down at PASSHE schools to ensure state dollars are maximized for students.

- This includes the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements.

· Committee members expressed support for PASSHE’s efforts to educate students for high-need jobs in Pennsylvania.

- House Republicans also expressed support for efforts from PASSHE to keep graduates living in Pennsylvania.

Notable Q&A

Rep. Jim Struzzi asks how involved PASSHE has been with the creation of the Governor’s Higher Education “blueprint” and what potential benefits PASSHE would see from combining with Community Colleges. 

Rep. Thomas Kutz asked Dr. Greenstein about the affordability of PASSHE schools and their programs educating students for high-need jobs. 

Full Hearing

Watch the full hearing here.

Rep. Seth Grove, Republican Chairman of the PA House Appropriations Committee
196th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives