Temple and three other state related Universities took to the state capitol to discuss Governor Wolf’s three percent increase in education funding in the proposed state budget.
Temple, Pittsburgh, Penn State, and Lincoln University were all in attendance in front of both the Senate and the House appropriations committees to support the budget increases.
While in front of the state legislature, President Dr. Neil Theobald said the main issue higher education is facing is student debt. He focused on 3 main points for affordability and access to college:
- Fly in 4: A groundbreaking program already in place at Temple University, guarantees students will graduate in four years or the university will pay for the remaining fees. This program is designed to help remove any excess debt the student may accumulate, and improve graduation rates. 88 percent of the 2014 Freshman class signed up to be apart of the program. Representative Charelle Williams praised Temple for already implementing Fly in four, saying the program is innovative and one of a kind in the nation. She said, “The Temple University administration devised a plan that could directly address the issue of graduation rates, the importance of finishing in four years, and say we are going to incentivize”
- Temple Option: This program is designed to increase accessibility to college for those who students who’s academic potential does not translate into standardized tests.Temple is the pioneers in the Northeast for making students submit their standardized test scores optional on admissions applications. Students, who are not good test takers, can now opt out of sending in their SAT scores if they complete an essay. The Temple Option measures their strengths in a different way.
- Tuition Freezes: President Theobald stated “The three percent focus is all on students. Its holding down tuition and providing financial aid to students so that individuals will pay less.”
Governor Wolf told Temple Update, that if the budget is passed, Temple will see an increase of about 15.3 million dollars. The next step for the budget, is for it to be discussed in further appropriation committee meetings. According to the legislators, the budget will most likely see major changes before it is approved.