No need for university to break away from PASSHE

letter in the Daily Local News from faculty member Cheryl Wanko, 3/21/14

The recent editorial in the Daily Local that seems to favor of West Chester University’s secession from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) does not represent the views of all WCU faculty and other campus citizens who care about access to public higher education. Certainly, as the editorial suggests, we would not want anything that happens to WCU to have a negative impact on our community.

However, many of us worry that that is indeed what would happen if WCU leaves PASSHE.

The Daily Local’s editorial mentions that the legislation’s authors, Senators Dinniman and Tomlinson, are in favor of secession, as are “other trustees and advocates for West Chester.” Note that the people who do the educating of WCU’s students – the faculty – are not included in this group. Many faculty were taken by surprise by the legislation, and many have grave concerns.

First, tuition. WCU exists so that future Pennsylvania citizens have access to college education — a necessity not only for personal success but for a flourishing Commonwealth. WCU is the only reasonable option for students of limited means to obtain four-year degrees in the greater Philadelphia area. However, if WCU becomes a state-related institution, the first year tuition hike for one of WCU’s students is estimated to be about $550 or 9 percent. In subsequent years, tuition would likely increase faster than inflation because of increased debt and rising personnel costs.

This will certainly have an impact not only on whether a student will be able to attend WCU but what a student would be able to spend in the local economy….

continue reading in the Daily Local News

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