Lincoln University president appeals to state lawmakers to end budget impasse
By Steven Hoffman
Lincoln University could be facing a tuition hike, more cuts to programs and services, and significant reductions in personnel costs unless lawmakers reach an agreement on the long-delayed state budget and free up funding for the four state-related universities. Dr. Richard Green, Lincoln University’s interim president, delivered this message during a state Appropriations Committee hearing in Harrisburg last week. Green and leaders from the three other state-related universities—Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Temple University—appealed to Pennsylvania legislators to provide funding or jeopardize the educational opportunities for students.
Lincoln University’s state allocation is proposed to be approximately $14 million, nearly 25 percent of its annual operating budget of $56 million. Green testified during the Appropriations Committee hearing about how the state budget impasse is impacting Lincoln University.
“We are committed to providing our students with an affordable, quality education, but we cannot continue to operate at the same level without this vital state funding,” Green said. “Our students deserve the opportunity to access higher education, and we implore our lawmakers to act swiftly on a resolution.”
The state budget impasse is in its ninth month, and the lack of a spending plan has hurt everything from domestic violence programs to food banks to Pennsylvania’s 500 public school districts.
Green talked about how the approximately 1,900 students who are currently enrolled at Lincoln University are being hurt by the absence of the state budget.
“The university is committed to serving the under-served, but this budget impasse is causing a devastating impact on our operating budget, which will soon have a direct impact on our students,” he explained.
The university has already seen significant cuts to its budget, including a two-percent salary reduction for non-union administrative staff and employee layoffs.
Green noted that while the country’s first degree-granting historically black college in the nation serves a diverse student body—students come from 30 different states and more than 17 foreign countries—the largest portion of students still come from Pennsylvania. Half those students come from families with household incomes of less than $50,000 and the majority of the university’s students come from single-parent households, so tuition hikes and cuts to programs and services will have a serious impact.
“This is not a Lincoln University problem. This is a community and a state problem,” Green explained, referring to the fact that 54 percent of the university’s graduates remain in the state after graduation. “Our students go to work in the Commonwealth. Our campus supports small businesses here. Lincoln University supports more than 500 Pennsylvania businesses, and the university is among the top 30 largest employers in Chester County.”