Did you know Spotlight PA is a nonprofit? Learn more about our nonpartisan journalism »
Skip to main content
Main content

Political fight could hike tuition at Pa. colleges

Plus, lives upended by 'Pa.'s No. 1 homebuyer.'

The logo of PA Post, a free daily newsletter delivering the top news from across Pennsylvania every day.

A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.
Your Postmasters: Colin Deppen & Tanisha Thomas

Thursday, July 13, 2023
Tuition hits, enrollment drops, learning losses, 988 awareness, home flips, charged jury, and navigating Pennsylvania in 1791. 

Hundreds of millions of dollars in state funding for several state-related universities are caught up in the ongoing budget impasse in Harrisburg, and the AP reports the snag could affect tuition rates for in-state students.

Democrats, including Gov. Josh Shapiro, support raising state aid to Penn State, Pitt, and Temple by 7% to $623 million, collectively — much of it to subsidize tuition discounts for students from Pennsylvania. The schools have some of the highest in-state tuition rates in the U.S. already.

But Republicans in the state House have said they’d rather send money directly to students than to the schools, whose leaders have declined to commit to tuition freezes even if the funding hike is approved. Funding for a fourth state-related university, Lincoln, already passed. Republicans noted it was the only state-related school to commit to a tuition freeze this year.

Read the AP’s full report: Impasse on funding for Pennsylvania universities could mean higher tuition for in-state students.

THE CONTEXT: Temple voted Tuesday to raise tuition more than 4% for in- and out-of-state students ahead of a projected enrollment drop this fall.

Hari Sastry, senior vice chancellor and chief financial officer for Pitt, said: “We can’t obviously wait until September to do things like set tuition rates. So, we’re going to have to figure out what that interim looks like.” 

Penn State President Neeli Bendapudi said Tuesday that it’s too early to gauge the impacts of the impasse: “We’ll have to wait and see. It definitely does put us at a disadvantage because we don’t know how we(‘ll) act.”

It’s not the first time university funding has gotten tied up in political turmoil in Harrisburg or used as a political football.

Read more, via Spotlight PA: How state funding for Temple and Penn State got caught up in Pa.’s latest budget impasse.


"I can’t see asking a 90-year-old resident to walk down in the dark, in the snow, over the ice and pick up his or her mail."

Robert Hess on a plan to install a community mailbox in a Williamsport neighborhood due to a “perceived threat” from a large-breed dog
Support vital journalism for Pennsylvania: The future of local news is in your hands. Donate now to Spotlight PA.
» Penn Medicine CEO breaks with peers on staffing bill, via Inky (paywall)

» How Pa. plans to deploy $1.6B for high-speed internet, via Capital-Star

» Fiscal code fights likely as '23 budget grinds on, via PennLive (paywall)

» Sen. Pittman: Huge sums at stake without code bills, via City & State

» Bill to create fallen first responder fund advances, via The Valley Ledger

Lake Nockamixon in Bucks County, via Don N. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

A partly cloudy sky above the rippling surface of a lake.
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.'FIGHTING FOR SCRAPS': Pennsylvania’s public universities have suffered a 30% drop in enrollment since 2010, Inside Higher Ed reports, calling the resulting competition for students "fierce." The decline follows a larger demographic decline in Pennsylvania, which has lost residents faster than 46 other states, per 2022 census data.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.LOST GROUND: Learning gaps created during the pandemic aren't going away, according to a new national study. The New York Times (paywall) reports students in most grades showed slower than average growth in math and reading last year compared to students before the pandemic, despite billions in aid targeted at learning losses.Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.CRISIS HOTLINE: A year after its launch, the 988 crisis line has an awareness problem, according to a national Pew Charitable Trusts survey that found most adults had never heard of it. The Inquirer (paywall) reports Philly officials are working with a mental health nonprofit to reach more people and build trust in the hotline.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.HOME BUYS: We Buy Ugly Houses calls itself Pennsylvania’s No. 1 homebuyer, but ProPublica detailed troubling patterns with the company and “five lives upended” by it. One story involves a woman who said she unknowingly signed paperwork agreeing to sell her Erie condo to a franchisee for a lowball price.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.TREE OF LIFE: Jury deliberations got underway Wednesday in the death penalty phase of convicted Tree of Life gunman Robert Bowers’ federal hate crimes trial. Bowers’ lawyers say his mental health should preclude him from capital punishment, while the prosecution says he knew what he was doing and wished he'd killed more Jewish people.
Investigative journalism that gets results: Spotlight PA's vital work depends on you. Donate now.

UPRISING ANNIVERSARY: In July 1845, runaway slaves staged an uprising in Charles County, Maryland. Their destination to freedom was Pennsylvania, but their trek north is nowhere to be found in the written histories of the affected counties, Wapo (paywall) reports in a piece from its archives.

STRIKE FUNDS: Striking Pittsburgh Post-Gazette workers will hold the picket line after receiving a $300K cash commitment from the Communications Workers of America Union. The Guild has been on strike since October.

BUILDING MAKEOVER: The First Bank of the United States is receiving a new look after being closed for over 50 years. PhillyVoice reports the building will be transformed into a museum near Independence Hall.

THROWBACK MAP: Ever wondered what Pennsylvania looked like centuries ago? A redditor shared a 1791 map displaying a general view of the roads and inland navigation of the commonwealth and its neighboring states.

SILENT ERA: A Pittsburgh film organization is seeking donations to preserve the last copy of a silent 1920s feature set in the city.

Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.
Yesterday's answer: Megalomania

Congrats to our daily winners: Craig W., Becky C., Tracy S., Ted W., Susan D., Barbara F., Don H., Jon W., Karen W., Lynne E., Susan N.-Z., Beth T., Kim C., Elaine C., Joel S., Kimberly D., Dennis M., Vicki U., Tom M., Craig E., Jane R., Stanley J., Starr B., Wendy A., Vanessa J., William Z., Stacy S., Dan A., and James B.
Like PA Post? Share it with a friend.

Love PA Post? Support it with a tax-deductible gift.

Forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Spotlight PA is an independent, non-partisan newsroom powered by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive/The Patriot-News, TribLIVE/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and WITF Public Media.

Copyright © Spotlight PA / The Philadelphia Inquirer, All rights reserved.

Spotlight PA
PO Box 11728
Harrisburg, PA 17108-1728


You're receiving this email because you subscribed to PA Post, a daily newsletter by Spotlight PA.

This email was sent to: <<Email Address>>

Receiving too many emails from Spotlight PA?

To change your newsletter subscriptions and frequency, you can update your preferences.

To stop receiving fundraising messages, you can update your preferences and select "Opt out of Fundraising."

To stop receiving ALL EMAILS from Spotlight PA, including all of our investigations and newsletters, you can completely unsubscribe here.