Corman Urges House to Take Action on College Funding Bills

(HARRISBURG) Students attending Penn State University and three other state-related universities should not have their education put on hold over a House debate on expanding table games, according to Senator Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte), who urged House Democrats to move quickly this week to approve $675 million in college funding.

According to Corman, the Senate unanimously passed appropriations for all four state-related universities on October 5, 2009. Since then, the House has not acted to consider necessary funding for the institutions, leaving students and parents faced with the possibility of tuition increases in January.

Corman said that when the budget was approved in October, the Democrat-controlled House held back money for the state-related universities – contending that a table game bill had to be approved first to generate additional funding. Corman, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, said funding can be released immediately because there is sufficient money in the budget and there are no legal issues outstanding.

“Expanding table games is entirely unrelated to funding our universities,” said Corman. “Our students and parents shouldn’t be threatened with higher second-semester tuition increases because of House inaction. The House can, and should, act today to approve this much-needed funding.”

Corman added that the Senate passed a gaming reform bill and legislation to authorize table games months ago, and the timing is now in the hands of the House.

“I understand the frustration of the university presidents, students and parents who are caught in the middle of this situation and I think it is flat out wrong and unnecessary,” Corman said. “The money is available and it should be released.”

Corman went on to say that Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln Universities are on the verge of sending out second semester tuition bills, that reflect a 50% increase in tuition, to students and their families.

“Failing to approve funding could lead to tuition increases that many students may not be able to afford, especially in these difficult economic times,” Corman said. “Expanded gaming and support for our state-related schools are two entirely separate issues that have been tied together by the House Democrat leadership. It’s time to deal with each separately, and to make college funding the first priority.”

Anna Fitzsimmons
Phone: (717) 787-1377