pa growth higher education

Lawmakers’ ‘Grow PA’ Proposal Offers Serious Solutions for Higher Education

Harrisburg, Pa., April 11, 2024 — Yesterday, Pennsylvania Sens. Scott Martin, Ryan Aument, David Argall, and Tracy Pennycuick and Reps. Jesse Topper and Rob Mercuri introduced “Grow PA,” a higher education reform plan designed to support post-secondary opportunities and career pathways in Pennsylvania.

Starkly contrasting Gov. Josh Shapiro’s “blueprint,” which still lacks detail and uses vague rhetoric on the issue, the lawmakers’ proposal presents a positive step in reforming how taxpayers fund higher education. The plan centers around student-based financial aid, institutional accountability, and workforce development for Pennsylvania’s in-demand industries.

Commonwealth Foundation Senior Vice President Nathan Benefield issued the following statement in response:

“The Commonwealth Foundation applauds these legislators for reframing how we fund higher education. In contrast to Governor Shapiro’s empty platitudes, the Grow PA proposal offers concrete, student-focused reforms.

“Grow PA funds students in all forms of higher education—from career and technical programs to community colleges to four-year universities—instead of offering a blank check to institutions. Rather than throwing money at buildings, bureaucrats, and blatant censorship, it focuses resources on the post-secondary studies that our commonwealth needs.

“Grow PA’s scholarship grants would make college degrees more affordable in high-demand fields, such as health care and agriculture. The proposal ties these funds to results and aligns programs with employer demands, helping students avoid debt and a degree that will never lead to a career.

“Grow PA represents an important step forward. But we mustn’t stop here. Lawmakers must move all state aid to student grants and improve K–12 educational outcomes—through educational choice programs like the Lifeline Scholarship Program—to ensure high school graduates are college-ready.”

View the Commonwealth Foundation’s proposed solutions to higher education in Pennsylvania here.


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