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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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Chris Matthews poses for a photo at the Global Hub in Posvar Hall.
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Chris Matthews poses for a photo at the Global Hub in Posvar Hall.
Chris Matthews: Inspiring language learners at home and abroad
By Anna Kuntz, Senior Staff Writer • April 22, 2024
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By Irene Castillo, Senior Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

A look into Gov. Shapiro’s budget proposal, new plans for higher education

Gov.+Josh+Shapiro+speaks+with+Pitt+students+in+Nordy%E2%80%99s+Place+on+Oct.+27%2C+2022.
Ethan Shulman | Visual Editor
Gov. Josh Shapiro speaks with Pitt students in Nordy’s Place on Oct. 27, 2022.

Some students choose Pitt because it is a state school and provides students with cheaper in-state tuition. But despite this, Pennsylvania is still ranked very low in terms of state investment in higher education. 

“Pennsylvania currently ranks 48th for affordability and 49th for state investment in higher education,” according to a press release from the governor’s office. “Governor Shapiro knows we must take action to improve access and opportunity for Pennsylvania students. Under Governor Shapiro’s plan, higher education will serve as an economic driver for Pennsylvania and prepare workers for the future.” 

Gov. Josh Shapiro announced his 2024-2025 budget proposal, which aims to bolster higher education funding, on Feb. 6. The three main goals of this plan, according to the press release, are to create a system that addresses the state’s needs, makes higher education more accessible and affordable and increases transparency throughout the system. 

University Spokesperson Jared Stonesifer said Pitt is “grateful for the continued support” from the governor’s office.

“Pitt looks forward to working with the Shapiro Administration and the legislature to enact a higher education plan that delivers for students and puts Pennsylvania on a path to a more competitive workforce and a more robust economy,” Stonesifer said.

Ricky Brooks, a sophomore political science major, said he feels Shapiro’s plan will ease the stress of students.

“In today’s economy, it can be very difficult to balance being a student and working. On top of that, we have to worry about tuition,” Brooks said. “Tuition can be extremely stressful depending on your economic background, a thing that a lot of people struggle with.”

One of the most notable goals of this plan is to greatly reduce tuition costs for families making below the median income at state-owned universities and increase PHEAA grants by $1,000.

Tom Ross, a sophomore history and political science major, who has followed the issue of in-state tuition since before he came to Pitt, said he feels the plan is a “good idea.”

“I think that it makes sense morally,” Ross said. “Everyone should have open access to higher education, and cost shouldn’t be a barrier to someone’s chance at a brighter future. Expanding educational opportunities will benefit all Pennsylvanians in the long run.”

During the February Board of Trustees meeting, Chancellor Joan Gabel said the University is already taking steps towards implementing the governor’s plan.

“Pitt’s Office of Government Relations and Advocacy has already partnered with our state-related peers to analyze the proposal and coordinate activities as critical details remain to emerge,” Gabel said. “We’re also working closely with parties and the legislature and governor’s office to shape the details of these initiatives. The University will continue to aggressively pursue a fair funding formula that benefits our students and allows us to do our very critical work for the entire Commonwealth and beyond.”

Shapiro said he hopes the plan keeps more young people in the state and helps the Pennsylvania economy as a result.

“Every Pennsylvanian deserves the freedom to chart their own course and the opportunity to succeed,” Shapiro said in a press release. “For those who want to go to college or get a credential, we need to rethink our system of higher education. 

Shapiro said he wants to make sure every student can succeed and contribute to the Pennsylvania economy.

“You deserve accessible, affordable higher education options. That’s true for every student … that’s exactly what my plan will deliver, and we’ll build a higher education system that opens up doors of opportunity, prepares our workforce, and serves as the linchpin to Pennsylvania’s economic success.”

Brooks said they feel that Shapiro’s plan would bring diversity into higher education.

“If we can lower the costs of education at all, especially for people coming from underprivileged backgrounds, I think it would be greatly beneficial because it would uplift those communities,” Brooks said. “It would make them see that they can go get a higher education if they want to.”

Ross believes that the state should take steps to incentivize young people to stay in Pennsylvania.

“While the in-state tuition discount offsets some of the cost, the fact is that the price of higher education in Pennsylvania is way too high,” Ross said. “We need to work to bring education prices down — otherwise, young people will be looking elsewhere to plan their future. Pennsylvania can’t afford a brain drain of bright, college-aged individuals moving to other states.”



About the Contributor
Adrienne Cahillane, Senior Staff Writer