Details Provided on Shapiro’s Plan to Consolidate State Universities

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PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Post Gazette is reporting… Gov. Josh Shapiro offered more details about his broad plan to consolidate Pennsylvania’s community colleges and state universities during a Tuesday visit to the Community College of Allegheny County.

Mr. Shapiro indicated he would like to see the creation of a new system by the end of this calendar year. Next year, he wants to see the beginning of a $1,000-per-semester tuition cap for students whose families are below the state’s median income level.

Those lofty goals will require legislators’ stamp of approval, “We’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Mr. Shapiro, standing in CCAC’s new Center for Education, Innovation & Training. “I understand that sometimes some lawmakers are afraid of big bold things, but now is the time for action. I understand that lawmakers will want to do some analysis on my plan as they rightfully should, but analysis should not be used as an excuse for paralysis.”

In January, Mr. Shapiro proposed a structural overhaul of the community college and state university systems that would put these schools under the same umbrella. He also suggested capping tuition and fees to $1,000 per semester for students at these institutions who meet certain financial guidelines.

But Mr. Shapiro’s blueprint has received some pushback from lawmakers, experts, and community members for its lack of detail. Last week, legislators prodded state system Chancellor Daniel Greenstein for specifics regarding Mr. Shapiro’s plan.

Some specifics came this week in the form of an FAQ released by the state’s Department of Education. Mr. Shapiro called that form a “living, breathing document” that will be updated as the blueprint is fleshed out.

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