It has been my pleasure to serve on the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors for the past eight years.
PASSHE universities (including Lock Haven) are the most affordable option among all four-year colleges and universities in the commonwealth.
Public higher education is not only an essential public good in the commonwealth, it is one of the keys to future economic growth and prosperity. PASSHE directly contributes over $1.6 billion per year to Pennsylvania's economy and is the13th largest employer with over 12,000 employees. It is estimated that PASSHE campuses also support over 44,000 jobs through their existence and have graduated 500,000 current alumni who earn $7 billion in aggregate income in Pennsylvania every year.
By controlling costs and improving efficiencies, over the past decade the Board of Governors has made approximately $220 million in savings and reductions from PASSHE's overall budget.
These savings were achieved through some of the following initiatives:
Work force management has reduced PASSHE's employee complement by more than 1,400 over the past five years. The voluntary retirement incentive program, created in 2010, produced savings of approximately $10 million last year.
Collaborative purchasing of goods and services produced nearly $31 million in savings in 2012.
Procuring electricity and natural gas on the wholesale market has reduced the unit cost of energy and saved the universities nearly $20 million since 2001.
A more than 35 percent reduction in PASSHE's energy consumption since 2002-03 has resulted in $91.6 million in combined savings for the universities.
Consolidating the online learning delivery system into a single Learning Management System; Learning Content Management System; and 24/7 help desk to assist students, faculty and staff saves the universities more than $2.5 million annually, or nearly 60 percent.
And keep in mind that under the Tom Corbett administration, state support for PASSHE universities in the past three years is lower than before he took office.
These increased efficiencies and resulting savings are no accident. They are the product of a thoughtful, concerted and strategic effort to curb costs and be responsible stewards of every taxpayer and student dollar we receive.
State Rep. Mike Hanna
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom