Wolf looks to working group for ideas on improving Pa. higher ed

(Zimmytws/Bigstock)

(Zimmytws/Bigstock)

Gov. Tom Wolf brought together a room full of education officials, college presidents, professors, and others Tuesday to brainstorm how to overhaul Pennsylvania’s higher education system.

The governor said he hopes the effort leads to new legislation.

Participants included state Education Secretary Pedro Rivera, State Higher Education System Chancellor Frank Brogan and a handful of college presidents.

Attendees were encouraged to air their complaints and concerns about the state’s higher education. Talk largely centered on lowering costs and making college accessible to more students.

Kara Laskowski, chapter president of the APSCUF union at Shippensburg University, said her biggest concern is how much financial burden students and families are bearing.

“In the 1990s, for instance, students paid about 25 percent of the operating costs for our public universities,” she noted.

Today, they pay about 75 percent.

Wolf said he intended to call many more meetings.

“I got a lot of new ideas as to how broad the issue is and how broad the question is, which is what I wanted,” he said. “Now we need to get to work to figure out what some of the answers might be.”

There’s no timeline for action related to the meetings — Wolf says the project will continue “until we come up with a really good answer.”

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