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With most of the system's schools struggling financially and facing dropping enrollments, state legislators met to discuss a study released last week by the RAND Corp.about the options for fixing the state system, which serves 100,000 students.However, he added, the current financial situation for PASSHE is simply not sustainable, and will likely create more and more tuition increases if nothing is done.Another legislator with a strong reaction to the report was Sen. Tomlinson, a Bucks County Republican and graduate of PASSHE's West Chester University.The study provides five options for fixing the state system.Goldman said option one should only be pursued as a final choice, saying it could lead to immediate improvements but likely won't solve long-term problems.
The topic was the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, a group of 14 state-owned universities that includes Kutztown University.
The report contains a list of five possible solutions, ranging from making fixes to the current system to turning the PASSHE schools into branch campuses of state-related schools like Penn State, Pittsburgh or Temple a notion that stirred the ire of several legislators on hand. He began by laying out the factors contributing to PASSHE schools' struggles.
Goldman said the demographics of Pennsylvania, particularly in traditional college-aged populations, are one such factor.
Other legislators looked past funding matters, saying simply tossing more money at PASSHE's problems won't fix them.
Eichelberger said the system has been mismanaged for a long time, taking particular issue with employee unions.
Other legislators expressed concerns about the litany of regulations PASSHE schools face, saying they bog down the system.