Gov. Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania, who has complained that his state’s higher education “isn’t working,” proposed on Friday a sweeping overhaul of the state’s sprawling college and university system that would reduce tuition for many students and determine funding for individual schools based in part on their performance.

The plan would consolidate 10 of Pennsylvania’s state universities and all 15 of its community colleges under one governance umbrella, boost state funding for public higher education, and allow students with low to middle incomes to pay only $1,000 a semester in tuition.

Most of the plan would not affect Pennsylvania’s best-known public universities, including Penn State, Pittsburgh and Temple.

“After 30 years of disinvestment, too many of our colleges and universities are running on empty, and not enough students have affordable pathways into good jobs,” Mr. Shapiro said in a statement.

Plans for the overhaul have been under development for nearly a year by a working group formed by the governor, who complained publicly shortly after taking office in 2023 about problems in the state’s higher education system.

Competition among state-funded universities, he said last year, was creating a negative effect, with “colleges competing with one another for a limited dollar, duplicating degree programs, driving up costs and actually reducing access.”


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