Jan. 29, 2020 / Newspaper Columns

By State Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) 

Last week in Harrisburg, a group of legislators joined officials with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) in calling for a series of reforms aimed at updating and improving operations within the system. A package of bills was introduced in the House of Representatives that would implement the changes.

House Bill 2172 would reform the governance and accountability of PASSHE’s Board of Governors and the Councils of Trustees. One of the proposals authorizes the board to create, expand, consolidate, transfer, dissolve or close an institution or college, to better align the system with workforce needs and enrollment.

House Bill 2172 would make needed financial and legal reforms to PASSHE.

House Bill 2173 would make needed reforms to streamline reporting and clarify and update statutory language.

The bills are pending consideration in the House Education Committee.

PASSHE is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, overseeing the 14 state-owned universities, including Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg, Kutztown, Lock Haven and Mansfield. Since its formation in 1982, it has provided accessible, affordable and relevant undergraduate, graduate and career-development programs to the public. However, despite significant changes to the landscape of higher education, PASSHE’s enabling legislation, Act 188 of 1982, has not been significantly updated since its initial enactment.

Currently, PASSHE is facing considerable challenges that threaten the sustainability of its operations. In order to address these challenges, the system is in the midst of a redesign, some of which requires enabling legislation.

Representative Tarah Toohil
116th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office
RepToohil.com / Facebook.com/RepToohil