Senior Vice President Marna Whittington will testify before a state House committee reviewing higher education funding later this month. The experts' reports will be delivered to the committee early in the day. Whittington will be joined by up to five other college and university administrators in her analysis. It is not known what stance the experts will take on funding for private schools like the University. The committee, headed by Representative Dwight Evans, is seeking to improve the accountability, budgeting, and financing of higher education in Pennsylvania, Shada said. The committee will be examining a system which is radically different from most state's funding of higher education. "It's purpose is to look at funding in a macro way . . . instead of [reviewing] individual institutions," Shada said. Whittington said last night she will argue for higher education in Pennsylvania as a whole in her testimony. Pennsylvania divides colleges and universities into two categories, state-related and non-state-related. The University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State, Temple, and Lincoln universities are state-related, while 12 private colleges and universities, including the University, Drexel, Thomas Jefferson and Hahnemann universities are non-state-related. Whittington said last night that regional politics may also have prompted the review. Eleven of the 12 private colleges funded by the state are in Philadelphia, and legislators from other parts of the state have historically been accused of an anti-Philadelphia bias. "[The review] is an element of Philadelphia politics," Whittington said. Whittington and Shada also said the state's worsening fiscal condition prompted the appropriations committee to examine higher education funding. While Shada is not certain whether or not the University would lose any funding because of this review, Whittington said last night she "absolutely defends" funding of the University. "I hope it's not going to be that parochial of a discussion," Whittington said. House Education Committee Chairperson Ronald Cowell (D-Allegheny) said Tuesday the legislature should examine the "special treatment" the University receives because of the state's fiscal problems. However, Whittington yesterday defended the University's state appropriation because of the historical role the University has played in the state. The state first provided funding for the University -- then named the University of the State of Pennsylvania -- in 1790. The state has continually funded the University since 1903.Comments powered by Disqus
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