O’Mara appointed to Public Higher Education Commission

SPRINGFIELD, Aug. 19 – State Rep. Jennifer O’Mara, D-Delaware, today announced her appointment to the state legislature’s Public Higher Education Commission. The purpose of the commission is to review and make recommendations related to higher education funding, affordability and effectiveness, administration and operations.

O’Mara, who also organized the House Student Debt Caucus, will help develop a higher education funding formula for the 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education universities and four state-related universities, which are Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln universities. Funding for the 18 higher education institutions will be determined on a case-by-case basis considering factors such as goals for higher education, the commonwealth’s higher education needs, graduation, retention and enrollment rates, student debt and financial aid, and any other factors related to higher education and the distribution of funding. The General Assembly would then need to authorize the proposed funding formula.

O’Mara said the commission will also review and make findings and recommendations to the commonwealth, consult with and utilize expert advice, hold public hearings, review other states’ higher education funding formulas and develop proposed legislation based on the commission’s findings.

“I’m honored and excited to be in a role where I can actively work toward fighting the student debt crisis we’re facing here in Pennsylvania,” O’Mara said. “Funding for these colleges and universities has not kept up with the rising cost of tuition across the commonwealth, causing thousands of Pennsylvanians to drown in debt. As a member of this commission, I look forward to fighting for fair funding to alleviate this financial burden.”

For more information, constituents can call O’Mara’s office at (610) 544-9878.