The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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A speaker addressed protestors at an Earth Day rally in Schenley Plaza on Monday.
‘Reclaim Earth Day’ protest calls for Pitt to divest from fossil fuels
By Kyra McCague, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
Stephany Andrade: The Steve Jobs of education
By Thomas Riley, Opinions Editor • April 24, 2024
The best cafés to caffeinate and cram for finals
By Irene Castillo, Senior Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

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A speaker addressed protestors at an Earth Day rally in Schenley Plaza on Monday.
‘Reclaim Earth Day’ protest calls for Pitt to divest from fossil fuels
By Kyra McCague, Staff Writer • April 24, 2024
Stephany Andrade: The Steve Jobs of education
By Thomas Riley, Opinions Editor • April 24, 2024
The best cafés to caffeinate and cram for finals
By Irene Castillo, Senior Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

Editorial | Discounted in-state tuition is more important now than ever

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TPN File Image
The Cathedral of Learning

Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action from college admissions decisions, barring what Justice Thomas described as “rudderless, race-based preferences.” SCOTUS followed this decision up the very next day by eliminating protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and denying Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan.

Pitt responded to the ruling, stating that they are currently evaluating their admissions practices to ensure they are both inclusive and compliant with the law.

With affirmative action wiped from the admissions process, it is more crucial now than ever to ensure in-state tuition stays low to help make college more accessible to students of all backgrounds. Pitt’s in-state tuition provides a roughly $16,000 annual discount to 17,000 undergraduate students, but the Pennsylvania house has blocked the funding bill necessary for this discount twice this summer.

The house intends to vote for a third time in the coming weeks, leaving thousands of Pennsylvania residents wondering whether the Democrats will be able to attain the two-thirds majority vote needed to secure $650 million in university funding.

The SCOTUS rulings in late June destroyed the already shaky foundation for equal college accessibility, and failing to pass this funding bill will only exacerbate the problem. If universities cannot make conscious efforts to give underprivileged and minority students an equal footing in the admissions process, they should at least be able to subsidize in-state tuition to aid those who may be otherwise unable to afford it.

The House Republicans have a range of reasons for blocking the bill. Some had reasonable qualms — opposing Pitt’s, Temple’s and Penn State’s proposal to raise tuition, as they claimed that the funding should be used to incentivize universities to avoid raising tuition. Though some anti-abortion Republicans are still hung up on Pitt’s fetal tissue research — as we all know, the leading cause of abortion is the desire to donate tissue to the University of Pittsburgh. Others wish to block Penn State’s funding for providing healthcare to transgender children.

Simply put, the Republican minority is playing the game of leverage. Countless Pennsylvanian families want to be able to afford college, and Republicans can use that to get what they want — issues of undoubtedly equal importance. As the Supreme Court throws the manure of their majority decision into the fan of college admissions, the Pennsylvania House Republicans still feel tuition subsidy is the best bill to hold hostage.

With summer recess approaching, it is uncertain when the House will reconvene for their third vote on the funding bill. Use this time to drum up some outrage — public opinion may not have the grip on our representatives that it used to, but it’s one of the only tools we have. 

This bill will be what saves Pennsylvania families $16,000 dollars in tuition each year. We couldn’t have afforded to lose it last year, and we especially can’t afford to lose it now. Don’t let our lawmakers strip down college accessibility even further.

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