Pa. senate questions college enrollment numbers
A key Pennsylvania lawmaker Wednesday signaled that legislators will be taking a critical look at how demographics are affecting higher education.
Senate Majority Policy Committee Chair David G. Argall (R-Schuylkill and Berks) said the Senate will examine the impact of changing demographics on higher education during a public hearing on April 10 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in Room 8 – EB of the East Wing, Capitol Complex in Harrisburg. Argall said the committee will hear testimony from Nathan D. Grawe, a Carleton College economic professor who studies higher education through the prisms of demand and demographics.
In Pennsylvania, many colleges and universities say enrollment declines and financial problems can be linked directly to the region’s shrinking pool of new high school graduates.
Argall warned that colleges and universities struggling with declining enrollment must develop a game plan to ensure the situation doesn’t worsen.
“We have 338 colleges, community colleges and trade schools here in Pennsylvania. Some of these institutions are thriving and expanding while others are experiencing financial difficulties and an unpredictable future. If demographic changes significantly reduce the number of average college-aged students, then the struggling institutions must now begin to develop a game plan to ensure that their situations don’t become worse.”
Next week’s hearing comes as public universities in Pennsylvania work on their 2019-20 budgets while the legislature weighs their requests for public subsidies.
Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter .