A state Senate panel has countered Governor Tom Corbett's budget proposal with a plan of its own, returning significant funding to social service programs, schools, and higher education.
The measure restores funding for the 14 state system colleges and three state-related schools to the current year's levels. Corbett is calling for 20 and 30 percent cuts to those higher education institutions. Senate Appropriations Committee Republican Chair Jake Corman said in return lawmakers asked college presidents to commit to minimize tuition increases.
"We went to them and said, 'Look, we think we can do this, but we need a commitment from you to do your part. Work with us to keep tuition low for students,'" said Corman.
College tuition hikes would be approved after the June 30th deadline to pass the state budget, but Corman said he's confident any increases will be small. The proposal passed out of committee with unanimous, bipartisan support.
It spends more than $500 million more than the governor's $27.14 billion dollar plan.