Written Testimony for
University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher
March 3, 2022
Appropriations Committee of the Senate of Pennsylvania
Appropriations Committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
I am honored to be here today to discuss the Commonwealth’s investment in Pennsylvania’s students and families—a commitment that, as it relates to the University of Pittsburgh, spans nearly six decades.
Today, across Pitt’s five-campus system, about 70% of all undergraduates—nearly 17,000 students—are Pennsylvania residents. These students arrive on our campuses from zip codes across the state and have chosen Pitt because we offer what other institutions cannot: an exceptional education at a terrific value.
The state’s annual appropriation plays a central role on this front, helping to discount tuition so that more Pennsylvanians can afford and attend leading institutions like the University of Pittsburgh. At the same time, Pitt adds to this discount to further incentivize students staying in state to advance their education (For example: In 2021, we contributed $117 million of the $284 million in funds applied to discounting tuition for students from the Commonwealth.).
At the family level, the impact of this state-supported discount is significant. Every Pennsylvania resident attending our Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences—the largest school on our largest campus—saves more than $15,000 in tuition costs each year. At our regional campuses, the discount is even greater, with in-state students paying around 46% less than their out-of-state peers.
Because state appropriation dollars are used—exclusively—to make a world-class college education more affordable, any fluctuation in this support will directly and immediately impact Pennsylvania’s families.
Any radical drop in state support is difficult to rationalize—especially when the University of Pittsburgh continues to serve as a powerful economic and opportunity engine for the commonwealth. It’s a role that is important in the best of times and perhaps even more important now, with the lingering pandemic continuing to send shockwaves throughout every sector of society.
The numbers alone are persuasive:
- Each year, Pitt fuels Pennsylvania’s economy, contributing an estimated $4.2 billion to communities and supporting a network of nearly 38,000 jobs;
- Every fall, Pitt welcomes more than 24,000 new and continuing undergraduates— roughly 70% of whom call Pennsylvania home; and
- Every spring, Pitt graduates join a community of nearly 200,000 alumni statewide who are expected to generate at least $563 billion in income over the course of their careers.
Another example: In the last year alone, Pitt’s research activities injected $1.9 billion into the state’s economy, and we ranked among the top 10 academic institutions nationally in terms of funds awarded from the National Institutes of Health. And we are using these funds to build and leverage new knowledge so that we can tackle some of medicine’s most complex challenges—issues like cancer, the opioid epidemic and COVID-19.
At the same time, our students continue to earn some of academia’s highest honors, including Harry S. Truman, Marshall, Beinecke and Fulbright scholarships. And, true to our reputation of tackling some of society’s most difficult challenges, we continue to innovate in the access and affordability space—growing one-of-a-kind programs like Pitt Success and Panthers Forward— to help give every qualified student the chance to pursue a Pitt education irrespective of their family’s financial circumstances.
Our successes have earned Pitt praise on a number of fronts, including recognition as:
- One of the most innovative universities in the world (Reuters).
- A top public university in the Northeast (The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education).
- A top 20 public school in the nation (U.S. News & World Report).
In summary: The long-standing model of investing in Pennsylvanians is working. Higher education is one of the most powerful and proven ways that an individual can build financial stability and change the trajectory of their family’s future. Funding an in-state tuition discount is a promise that the commonwealth cannot afford to break, and accessing a Pitt education is a benefit that Pennsylvania’s students, communities and economies cannot afford to lose.
Thank you for your time and consideration today.
Chancellor, University of Pittsburgh