grow pa plan

Pa. Senate’s Passage of ‘Grow PA’ a Huge Victory for Higher Education Reform

Harrisburg, Pa., June 12, 2024 — The Pennsylvania Senate, on Tuesday, passed the landmark higher education reform plan “Grow PA,” demonstrating their steadfast commitment to supporting post-secondary opportunities and career pathways for Pennsylvanian students. The proposal, consisting of Senate Bill (SB) 1150 and SB 1151, received practically unanimous bipartisan support—passing 49-0 and 48-1, respectively.

Introduced just two months ago, Grow PA has made remarkably swift progress through the legislature. The plan contrasts sharply with Gov. Josh Shapiro’s higher education “blueprint,” which, despite its announcement in February, has only just seen legislative language introduced this week. Unlike other higher education reform plans, Grow PA prioritizes student-based financial aid, institutional accountability, and workforce development in the state’s high-demand industries.

Commonwealth Foundation Director of Policy Analysis Elizabeth Stelle issued the following statement in response:

“The Commonwealth Foundation applauds Pennsylvania Senate Republicans—and state Sen. Scott Martin in particular—for its leadership in advancing much-needed higher education reform in the commonwealth. The passage of Grow PA illustrates the Senate Republican’s commitment to supporting our students and future workforce.

“Grow PA’s reforms provide student-centered funding, ensuring financial aid benefits students directly. From technical programs and community colleges to four-year universities, Grow PA funds students regardless of their choice of higher education. It prioritizes student choice—not bureaucracy—and allocates resources to the fields of study our state needs the most.

“Grow PA links accountability and results, tying scholarship grants to student success in high-demand fields, such as health care and agriculture. This approach not only makes higher education more affordable but also aligns educational programs with the demands of our state’s key industries. As a result, students graduate better prepared, collect less student debt, and have a greater chance to secure gainful employment.

“The Senate’s decisive passage of Grow PA is a major step toward education reform in Pennsylvania. We urge the Pennsylvania House to follow suit and pass both SB 1150 and SB 1151.

“Additionally, the House should continue this momentum by passing Lifeline Scholarships. That way, we can build an education system that truly serves the needs of our students, providing them with the opportunities they need to succeed.”

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


The Commonwealth Foundation turns free-market ideas into public policies, fostering prosperity for all Pennsylvanians.