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Higher ed gives a solid return on investment

Written by Susan Mannella on .

Kudos to state Sen. Jake Corman ("GOP Leader Talks Against College Cuts," Feb. 28) for agreeing to help fight proposed cuts to higher education, and to the University of Pittsburgh in particular.

In return for the state funding it receives as a state-related university, Pitt is able to charge in-state students approximately $9,500 below what non-Pennsylvanians pay and almost $25,000 less than what a comparable private university costs to attend. It troubles me that the cuts, which would take Pitt's cumulative two-year cuts in state support to more than $117 million, would directly affect working families. More students would be denied affordable access to higher education. More students would leave Pennsylvania and cross state lines to obtain that education. As a result, there would be more of a strain on the region's social vitality and economic strength.

Cutting massive amounts of the funding for higher education is hardly a way for the commonwealth to achieve the administration's goal of job creation through innovation or to show support for higher education. Not when overall state funding would be reduced by less than one-half of 1 percent, whereas the cuts proposed just for Pitt are 30 percent or $42 million -- more than double the overall reduction in the state budget.

Thank goodness some of the Republican leaders, such as Sen. Corman, realize the value of, not to mention the return on, the state's investment in state-related schools. Now let's work to convince others that investing in public higher education, and research universities in particular, is an investment in our future.

SAM ZACHARIAS
Mt. Lebanon

The writer is a trustee of the University of Pittsburgh.

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