Funding increase needed

Gov. Tom Wolf’s call for a raise in funding for higher education institutions should be welcomed by all Pennsylvanians.

Last week, in a budget address in Harrisburg, newly-elected Gov. Tom Wolf placed an emphasis on higher education funding – a stark contrast to what Pennsylvania public and state-related colleges and universities, like Temple, have experienced in recent memory.

Temple requested a 5 percent increase in funding this year, but Wolf’s proposal called for an 11 percent increase to Temple’s appropriation.

Former Gov. Tom Corbett’s first budget proposal called for a 50 percent reduction in appropriations for the 2011-12 fiscal year. That figure was later reduced to 19 percent. The next year, Temple received 5 percent more, equating to $139.9 million – where the funding has stayed level for the past three years.

Now, though, it seems an emphasis is being placed on higher education.

Whether Wolf’s proposal is passed by the General Assembly or not, Temple’s appropriation is expected to rise – whether it’s the full $15.44 million increase, or an amount closer to the $7 million Temple requested.

Wolf said he expects higher education institutions to freeze tuition with the increased funding. In a recent interview with The Temple News, though, Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Ken Kaiser said  that while tuition would likely still be raised with a 5 percent increase, the increased funding could “mitigate it.”

Regardless, Wolf’s proposal should be embraced by the university community, and the state at large. Even if the benefits of more funding aren’t immediate, this increase would certainly be a step in the right direction.

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