Your School Isn’t Closing! Get the Word on the PA Budget!

cheyney universityThe 2011-2012 PA state budget proposal was released by  PA Governor Tom Corbett on Tuesday, March 8, 2011.

Corbett’s proposal cuts approximately $866 million (according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), of which, “public schools, state-owned universities, state-related universities and the Department of Community and Economic Development took the biggest hits.”

Although the governor claims that the budget is “business friendly” due to its ability to avoid tax hikes, WGAL reports that “the budget cuts 1,550 state jobs.” By redirecting the funding from education, Corbett says, “This budget refocuses the investment of tax dollars in the core functions of government.”

Somehow, he believes that the following statement is supported in his plan to cut funding from universities and public schools, “Those functions include protecting public safety, maintaining the human services safety net, providing educational opportunities and supporting free enterprise.”

According to WGAL, higher education funding will be cut “nearly in half.” During the 2010-2011 year, state funding for education was $482 million (wherein $38 million was Federal Stimulus funding). The 2011-2012 budget Corbett proposed only gives education $232 million — making it “the biggest program cut, by percentage.” The report also mentions that state educational institutions said they experienced cuts of about 5% under Gov. Rendell, but that this cut will destroy many of their programming.

The PASSHE system of 14 schools, that serve 120,000 students, is currently aflutter. Ken Marshall, PASSHE Spokesperson is featured in the WGAL segment that you can view by clicking the link below.

, is in danger of losing funding for it’s major academic program: the Keystone Honors Academy and Bond-Hill Graduate Program.

An institution fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, many students fear that this loss could effect the stability of the institution. University statistical data shows that “the Keystone Honors Academy has an 82% persistence rate” and that “the graduation rate in the Keystone Honors Academy is higher than the national average and twice that of the national average for HBCUs.”

With only about 1,500 students, the loss of almost 250 of the finest academics could damage the university. The loss of the honors scholars could potentially lead to lower retention and graduation rate. The Keystone Honors Academy does not simply provide these students with scholarships but also puts them on the path of the Bond-Hill Graduate Program which provides placement in prestigious graduate programs or Lincoln University and Cheyney University graduates.

If you’d like to support Cheyney University as well as the faculty and staff whose jobs are in danger, please sign the Cheyney Petition. The goal is 5,000 signatures. You don’t have to be directly related to the university to sign it. You simply have to believe that deconstructing a program that provides scholarships, study abroad opportunities, graduate placement, cultural and arts programs as well as an academically stimulating environment is not the right path for Pennsylvania.

Yasheaka Oakley Owens

Yasheaka Oakley Owens is the owner of YOakleyPR, a woman-owned small business that provides public relations, social media, and online marketing support services to small businesses and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware.

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