Speaking at today’s (March 18) Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing with the State System of Higher Education (SSHE), Senator Joe Pittman questioned whether Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) and its students, staff and faculty were bearing an overly onerous financial burden to keep the system solvent.
SSHE Chancellor Dr. Dan Greenstein told the Appropriations Committee that the system relied on “cross subsidization” of assets between the 14 universities over the years to maintain financial stability.
“You talked about cross subsidization across the system. That’s one of my biggest frustrations. I am seeing IUP right now pay a terrible price in terms of retrenchment and clerical retirement and other layoffs,” said Senator Pittman. “I can’t help but believe that price is being paid for years of cross subsidization to weaker universities. I am concerned that pain is not being shared equally. In fact, that pain is being borne because of their (IUP) ability in previous years to support weaker universities in the system.”
“It’s a fair characterization and it goes beyond that, Senator,” Dr. Greenstein responded. “Universities that are the subsidizers tend to be operating with higher student/faculty ratios, higher average class size. They have fewer small classes. Those that are being subsidized have lower student/faculty ratios. They have a far greater proportion of smaller class sizes.”
Senator Pittman responded by questioning the value of IUP remaining in SSHE.
“Senator, unless we figure this out, I will be recommending to the (SSHE) Board that we come back to the Senate next year with a legislative package to dissolve the system because if we continue to go down this path what you are going to see is that cross subsidization is going to drain all of us,” Dr. Greenstein said.
“I will be more than happy to be the sponsor of that bill,” Senator Pittman said.
Click here for video of Senator Pittman’s comments during the PASSHE budget hearing.
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