Feb. 28, 2024

Interim President of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges Dr. Stanley Sidor, Community College of Philadelphia President Dr. Donald “Guy” Generals, and Community College of Allegheny County President Dr. Quintin Bullock testified today before the House Appropriations Committee. House Republicans focused their questions on trying to understand the potential impacts of the Governor’s “Blueprint for Higher Education” on our valuable community colleges. Once again, Republicans were shocked to learn how little work has been done on this massive, proposed idea to upend and merge the funding of two higher education systems in Pennsylvania that often serve different populations.

Key Takeaways

· Once again, House Republicans discovered there are no details to Governor Shapiro’s so-called “Blueprint on Higher Education,” which will have massive effects on how higher education is funded and governed in Pennsylvania.

· House Democrats, including Education Committee Chairman Schweyer, also expressed concerns with the “Blueprint on Higer Education” and the impacts it will have on both the Community Colleges and the PASSHE system.

· The Community College of Allegheny County President, Dr. Quintin Bullock, testified that the success of community colleges is deeply rooted in their local control and ability to meet community needs. This statement along with the lack of clarity in the future governance of community colleges is a major concern for House Republicans.

· Republicans were shocked to learn there have been only two meetings between community colleges, PASSHE, and the Shapiro Administration to date, yet the Shapiro administration intends to have the new system for the community colleges and PASSHE in place for fiscal year 2024-25.

· Ensuring the seamless transfer of credits from community colleges to other institutions in Pennsylvania is imperative and supported by House Republicans. However, upending the entire system to achieve this goal seems to be an overreach.

Notable Q&A

Rep. Clint Owlett asks the community colleges how they plan on implementing the Governor’s “blueprint” which merges community colleges with PASSHE and why they support it. 

Rep. Zach Mako asks how many meetings the community colleges have had on the higher education “blueprint.” Rep. Mako also asked about the need to merge the system as an alumnus of a community college, who transferred to a PASSHE school for a bachelor's degree, and then attended a state-related university for his master’s degree. 

Rep. Kristin Marcell expresses frustration with the lack of information on the “blueprint” regarding local governance of community colleges. 

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