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State universities expand scholarship pool

Debra Erdley
| Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, 4:33 p.m.

Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities will be able to offer more scholarship aid under a new policy approved this week.

The schools that include California, Clarion, Edinboro, Indiana and Slippery Rock universities in Western Pennsylvania had been limited to directing no more than 5 percent of their tuition and fee income to scholarships. The new policy raises the amount that may be directed to need-based scholarships for Pennsylvania residents and merit-based scholarships for all students to 10 percent of fee and tuition revenue.

Although tuition and fees at the 14 schools are among the lowest in Pennsylvania for state residents, few of the schools have been able to compete with the institutional scholarships private university competitors offer.

Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education spokesman Kenn Marshall said presidents from the 14 universities endorsed the concept of expanding student aid when they gathered for their quarterly meeting last month.

“Perhaps what's most important about this change is that each university will be able to decide whether to expand the amount of financial aid it offers and set the guidelines for doing so,” PASSHE Interim Chancellor Karen Whitney said. “The (state) system is moving in the direction of being more strategically focused by allowing certain day-to-day matters to be decided at the local level. That is a sea change.”

Debra Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7996, derdley@tribweb.com or via Twitter @deberdley_trib.

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