Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania (PRWEB) January 31, 2014
Angelo Armenti, Jr., the former Villanova University Dean and 20-year President of California University (Cal U), recently announced the release of his new book, Privatization Without a Plan: A Failure of Leadership in Pennsylvania Public Higher Education.¹ Using official public data, the book compares the cost to students at PASSHE universities with those at all institutions in America.
The book describes the effect that the recent failure by PASSHE’s 100% political leadership to deliver the promise of Act 188—high quality education at the lowest possible cost to the students—is having on the students and the 14 PASSHE universities in Pennsylvania, which include Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester.
Sticker Price vs. Bottom Line
Act 188 sets a clear and measurable limit on student costs.ᶟ By law, according to the book, PASSHE is to provide a high quality education “at the lowest possible cost to the students!” (Emphasis added.) Note that Act 188 imposes no limitation on “tuition rates” or “tuition and fees,” but only on the “cost to the students.” This immediately brings up the difference between “sticker price” and “bottom line.”
For example, according to Armenti, very few students in America today actually pay the full sticker price for a college education because of the availability, on a case-by-case basis, of institutional scholarships and State and Federal grants. These additional sources of funding get subtracted from the sticker price, thereby providing the bottom line cost to an individual student or family.
A typical financial aid package today consists of varying amounts from the following five categories: Federal grants, State grants, Scholarships, Student Employment, and Loans, according to Armenti. The two largest categories, accounting for more than 90% of typical financial aid packages, are grants which don’t have to be paid back, and loans which do have to be paid back, with interest.
The data show, according to the book, that a typical financial aid package for all institutions in America in 2011 consisted of 51% grant and 42% loan, with scholarships and student employment accounting for the remaining 7%. At a typical PASSHE university such as California University, for example, a typical financial aid package that year consisted of 27% grant and 65% loan, with scholarships and student employment accounting for the remaining 8%.
Between 2006 and 2011, according to the book, the financial aid trends for students at all institutions nationally improved substantially. In 2006, a typical package consisted of 54% loan and 42% grant. By 2011, those figures were reversed. For PASSHE students at California University, however, the 2011 figures show no improvement over those of 2006.
Despite Act 188, according to Armenti, PASSHE is not providing higher education to Pennsylvania families at anything like the “lowest possible cost to the students.” For PASSHE students, almost two-thirds (65%) of their financial aid comes from loans, while for students at all institutions across America, less than half (42%) of their financial aid comes in the form of loans.
Other states are clearly doing a better job of providing higher education at the lowest possible cost to their students, than PASSHE is. This reveals the tragic failure by PASSHE’s political leadership to fulfill the second half of the Act 188 statutory promise: “…at the lowest possible cost to the students.”
The Role of PASCU
According to Armenti, the failure by PASSHE’s 100% political leadership to deliver the promise of Act 188 to its majority financial stakeholders—the PASSHE students, parents and donors, primarily alumni—was a major reason behind his decision to create PASCU, the Pennsylvania Association of State Colleges and Universities, in 2012. PASCU’s official mission is “To ensure that the statutory purpose of public higher education in Pennsylvania as specified by Act 188 of 1982: ‘High quality education at the lowest possible cost to the students,’ is indefinitely preserved and faithfully delivered.” In implementing that mission, PASCU seeks to represent the interests of PASSHE’s currently disenfranchised majority stakeholders.
¹ Privatization Without a Plan: A Failure of Leadership in Pennsylvania Public Higher Education is on sale now, available from Amazon.com in paperback and e-book. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=angelo%20armenti.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Angelo Armenti, Jr. served as President of California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U) from 1992 to 2012. Before that, he was a Dean at Villanova University, a professor of physics, and author of The Physics of Sports (American Institute of Physics, 1992). During his career at Cal U, Armenti is credited with establishing numerous funding sources for student scholarships and for campus revitalization projects, efforts made in part to address the problems that he describes in Privatization Without a Plan. In June of 2012, Armenti founded a non-profit corporation entitled The Pennsylvania Association of State Colleges and Universities (PASCU) whose mission it is to preserve the purpose of public higher education in Pennsylvania. He also writes for his weekly blog at http://angeloarmenti.blogspot.com/.