Joni Finney gives analysis on Pennsylvania's higher education funding reform

February 15, 2024

Governor Josh Shapiro’s recent budget proposal aims to implement a performance-based funding system for Pennsylvania’s state-related universities, along with a 5 percent funding increase. According to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, these initiatives aim to foster a lasting impact on higher education in Pennsylvania.

Amid the optimism, Joni Finney, former director of Penn GSE’s Institute for Research on Higher Education (IRHE), casts a critical eye on Shapiro's plan. Finney is quoted as questioning the plan’s sustainability and effectiveness. She notes mixed results in other states with similar funding models, highlighting that such systems have not significantly changed state appropriations, despite increasing university presidents’ focus on metrics like access and affordability.

Finney also critiques the broader strategy behind Shapiro’s plan, labeling it as modest and questioning its ability to address Pennsylvania’s educational and demographic challenges. She advocates for creating an independent board to oversee higher education policies in the state, emphasizing the need for sustained leadership to navigate and improve Pennsylvania’s higher education landscape effectively.

Read more at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.