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Werner: Assumptions about cuts ‘no longer valid’

March 11, 2011

David J. Werner, IUP’s interim president

INDIANA — Students planning to attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) — or any other school within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education — should prepare for their wallets to get a little lighter in light of cuts in Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget.

In his budget issued Tuesday, Corbett proposed cutting $625 million in higher education costs. If the budget is approved, funding for state and state-related schools — including Penn State, Temple University and Lincoln University — would be slashed by 50 percent.

PASSHE is the largest provider of higher education in Pennsylvania and the 10th-largest public university system in the United States.

David J. Werner, IUP’s interim president, said in a statement that IUP’s planning to this point has been predicated on a 10-percent reduction in state appropriations and a four-percent tuition increase.

“Obviously, those assumptions are no longer valid,” he said, adding that leadership in Harrisburg and at IUP is concerned about the dramatic impact this proposed budget would have on the university community.

Werner said while it is important to note that the budget has not been passed, leadership at every level of the system is committed to its students.

“Our first priority is to do everything possible to avoid disruptions in their education,” he said.

Over the last decade, the PASSHE has reduced costs by $200 million, Werner said, and has held annual tuition increases below the rate of inflation in four of the last six years.

“Budget reductions alone will not address the impact of the proposed budget cuts,” he said. “And it would be irresponsible of the system’s leadership to not begin developing its response to the governor’s proposed budget, along with plans and contingencies for it.”

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