2021-22 Budget Breakdown: Education, Higher Ed | The Numbers Racket

By: - July 12, 2021 6:30 am

After the $40.8 billion  budget was approved by the General Assembly and Gov. Tom Wolf last month, both Wolf, a Democrat and the Republican-controlled Legislature, touted its savings while spending in a few key areas, including education. 

Wolf to sign $40.8B budget that spends on education, saves billions for the future

Here’s a breakdown of the education-related expenditures included in the 2021-22 fiscal year budget. 

Basic Education Funding

  •  $300 million, or a 4.8 percent increase for basic education funding. 
    • $200 million distributed through the fair funding formula, bringing the total share of formula-driven funds to 13.7 percent. 
    • $100 million distributed to the 100 most underfunded school districts through the new Level Up supplement.  
  • $50 million, or a 4.2 percent increase for special education funding. 
  • $30 million, or a 10.7 percent increase for early childhood education — split $25 million for Pre-K Counts and $5 million for Head Start Supplemental Assistance
  • $11 million, or a 3.4 percent increase for Early Intervention for ages 3-5. 
  • $190 million increase for PlanCon to pay for old projects using current General Fund revenues rather than bond debt. 
  • The school code raises the cap for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program from $185 million to $225 million, a $40 million or 21.6 percent increase. The entire increase goes toward the scholarship organizations program, which benefits private school students.  

Higher Education

  • PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE): no increase for state funding, but $50 million is appropriated for COVID Relief from federal American Rescue Plan Act resources. 
  • Level funding for the state-related universities (Penn State, Pitt, Temple, and Lincoln universities), and the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
  • $1.4 million increase for community college operating costs. This increase will support the new Erie Community College. 
  • $3.2 million increase for community college capital reimbursements, supporting buildings and facilities. This increase will help Erie Community College with start-up costs. 

PHEAA Programs 

Level funding for Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) programs, including the State Grant Program, Ready to Succeed  Scholarships, Institutional Assistance Grants for private colleges and universities, the Bond-Hill Scholarships and the Cheyney Keystone Academy.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.