Seizing an affordable opportunity

Lauren Cooper
Staff Writer

MU students got this message in their emails this week:

“Many faculty, staff, and students might be aware of reports of proposed legislation that could, potentially, impact MU. Said legislation would permit PASSHE universities meeting certain qualifying conditions to seek to transfer from the State System to state-related status. It is our understanding that this legislation will be formally introduced on Tuesday, March 10.

It is premature to comment on the proposed legislation until the university administration has an opportunity to carefully review the provisions and financial implications and discuss that analysis with our Council of Trustees. It will be our intent to also engage in a broader dialogue with other important constituencies such as our employees, alumni, other supporters, and area political leaders as a part of that review and analysis. As the legislative process unfolds I want to emphasize that the University’s primary concern is, and will continue to be, how we are best able to deliver an accessible, quality educational experience to our students.

John M. Anderson, Ph.D. President”

Personally, I am strongly against the reassignment of Millersville University to state related status. State related schools, which include Penn State and Temple, receive almost no monetary aid from Pennsylvania’s government. Tuition at state related schools is about $5,000 more than at state schools because of this. The reason that the 13 Pennsylvania state schools were created was to offer an affordable, quality education for Pennsylvanians.

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Millersville is part of the PASSHE, or the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. These 13 schools- including Shippensburg, Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, Kutztown, and others, are conveniently located throughout PA and all offer an approximately equal tuition. While some private schools offer financial aid and scholarship packages, these are typically offered to the best students or those who meet a special list of requirements. For the general student, state schools or community college followed by two years at a state school is a common route to a degree.

While I am lucky to have parents to help pay for my degree at MU along with loans, many of my classmates work 20 hours a week or more to afford tuition. Around half of the student body commutes from nearby towns, and PA state schools are considered the most accessible way for lower income students to finish a 4 year bachelor’s degree. The drastic rise in cost will leave many PA residents unable to complete a degree.

Millersville is also one of the top 2 highest ranked state schools in Pennsylvania, along with West Chester. By losing state school status, Millersville will cease to fulfill its mission of providing the best possible education at a cost affordable to a wide range of families.

I decided to attend MU over the last 4 years for a variety of reasons, including its good business program, its marching band, and how beautiful the campus is here. If the price point was $20,000 per year, (state related cost) I would have passed it over for either another state school or a small liberal arts college. Myself, and many other students would not be able to learn, advance, and seize the opportunities Millersville has to offer.

Please don’t consider making this change.

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