Pitt Students Rally Against Proposed Education Cuts

By: Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Chanting “No more cuts, No more cuts,” a rally of perhaps a 100 University of Pittsburgh students and supporters called on state legislators to reject Gov. Tom Corbett’s plan to cut funding for Pitt by 50 percent, a loss of $80 million in state support.

“If these budget cuts go through, this will only push in-state students like me away from a university like this,” the president of Pitt’s student government Molly Steiber told the crowd.

Steiber said a lot is at stake for students because without state support, Pitt will become just another high-priced private university.

“Pitt will just move to being another private institution, which I think being state-related makes Pitt very special in Pennsylvania,” said Steiber.

Students like Phil Larue said the governor’s cuts would raise tuition for Pitt students.

“He wants to shut the door of opportunity on thousands of young Pennsylvanians who just want to better themselves,” Larue told the rally.

It was a common refrain among many Pitt students.

“My father is unemployed,” student Ashley Hazeltime told KDKA political editor Jon Delano. “If these budget cuts happen, my education is in jeopardy, my future is in jeopardy. So that’s why I’m here because I care — not just about my university and about my personal education, but all the students of Pennsylvania that are in the same situation that I am.”

The unhappiness is such that some warned Harrisburg politicians of political repercussions.

“If we can’t afford to better ourselves, if we can’t afford to do what we always thought we could do to live up to our dreams, absolutely, we’re going to register to vote,” promised Larue.

“We’re going to come out to vote, and we’re going to do it again and again, and we’re going to vote for the people who support education and support our future.”
Larue, like many students, thinks Corbett has unfairly targeted students to bear the brunt of his budget cuts.

“I think that struggling college students who are taking ever increasing amounts of debt just to go to school and better themselves are the main people who are suffering from these cuts,” he says. “I don’t think the gas drillers and the big companies in this state are paying their fair share.”

Student leaders say Corbett’s $80 million cut for Pitt especially hurts in-state students who, because of the state subsidy, pay about $10,000 less in tuition than out-of-state students.

“From the subsidy we get from the appropriations is about $6,000 per in-state [student], so you can imagine if that’s cut in half what the increase will be for in-state students,” noted Steiber.

Many students like sophomore David Bowers say they cannot afford a $3,000 hike in Pitt’s tuition.

“My family is not a well-off family, so I’m taking out thousands and thousands of dollars of loans, and next year I’m going to have to up those loans just to get through school.”

Keisha Coleman of Stanton Heights cleans classrooms as a worker and then attends classes to get her college degree.

“Cutting higher education is just not the way to do it,” says Coleman. “It impacts everybody, not just the students. It impacts the workers. It impacts the whole community in Pittsburgh.”

Organizers said this rally cut across political lines – with a unified message that students will deliver to lawmakers in person on April 5.

“We’ll be going to Harrisburg and speaking with hopefully all of the legislators in the House and the Senate to make our concerns known,” said Pitt student Richard White, “and to tell them why we love Pitt and why we need our funds.”

Historically, students have not had much political clout in Pennsylvania. But their parents are another story – which is why whether these cuts in higher education funding are not a done deal.

University of Pittsburgh

Corbett Defends Budget Proposals With KDKA’s Griffin
Less Affluent Districts To Bear Brunt Of Corbett Education Cuts
More News on the Budget Proposal

  • Level Green

    Oh how early the ‘entitlement mentality’ takes root.

    I will get a tuition increase and that simply cannot occur…..

    What planet is this kid from. Where does it say that the state OWES you cheap tuition? You go to school…you gotta pay your fair share and yes, that fair share will be a little more than before. Look around you young lady, PAT is out of money, the state is broke, the Feds are printing money like crazy…

    Do you have any suggestions on where we should find the tuition money for you?

    • Ming 117

      Level Green,Isn’t that the idea of public colleges…to make higher education affordable for middle class children. Do you really believe Corbett’s or Santorum’s kids are going to go to Pitt or Penn State, No, they”re going to an ivy league or some other prestigious school that you and I cannot afford. So yes the state owes taxpayers a chance at an education.

      • Shockly

        The state, and the taxpayers of the state, owe no one anything.

    • Ming 117

      Tax gas drilling, stop giving tax breaks to the rich for starters. Stop building hockey rinks (subsidizing Lemieux with his millions).

      • Ming 117


        If they owe us nothing, then why pay taxes in the fist place!

      • expittsburgh

        and the bottom 50% income earners (half…) pay a total of 13% towards the federal money collected. Looks like they’re getting the break.

      • expittsburgh

        Tax breaks for rich? You mean the top 1% money earners who pay 37% of the federal taxes collected? Envy much?

      • Thomas J Duttine

        How about the millions Pitt spends on new buildings?? How about the millions that Pitt spends on NON-Education related things??

    • Zoeyzotron

      LEVEL – As always, well said.

      • expitsburgh

        @Beyond Green. The top 1% rich pay 37% of all the federal income tax. Do you really think that is how it should be?

      • Beyond Green

        Oh really? Thats your comment? Amazing addition there. There is a giant problem between the rich and poor that keeps getting bigger. One percent of the population owns most of this country. do you all really thin that is how it should be?

    • expittsburgh


    • Coash

      I think we should take it from your rich pocket and others like you.

  • PghProud

    Or you can apply for scholarships to lower your tuition. If you are such an outstanding student with leadership skills…that should not be a problem for you. How do you think others who go to private schools cope with tuition increases? The state does not mandate those, therefore, it happens more frequently than state schools. I went to a private college and every year there would be increases in tuition….these schools get NO MONEY FROM THE STATE. I applied for scholarships every semester and my loan amounts remained the same. Student loans are a part of every college graduate’s life…just buckle down and get a loan.

    • LMAO

      Well I have an Idea…..
      How bout those making the decisions take some cuts themselves? Wow now imagine making decisions that actually affect you. How many State Reps pay for their health care? Does the so-called Gov. pay for his? No but they expect everyone else to. PEOPLE WAKE UP!!! These college students didn’t put us in this situation the politicians did. Not sure about you but it doesn’t seem I’ve gotten any type of “Bang for my Buck”. It’s the peoples tax dollars. The people should decide how it’s spent!!


    Why don’t Pitt borrow a few mill from their $2 BILLION privately funded endowment ?????????

  • Publeak Edumacation

    I have an idea! Lower enrollment instead of increasing it. Please Corbett never give in to these vampires.

    • Ming 117

      You are the elitist teabag idiot. No wonder the Chinese and the Indians turn out more engineers and mathmaticians. People like you are backwarding thinking.

      • Ming 117


        Call em like you see em. When are you going to call out the bigots. Just wondering?

      • expittsburgh

        “elitist teabag idiot” Wow, didn’t take long to turn to name calling when you have no viable argument.

      • Howard Prickman

        What’s wrong with lowering enrollment when there is less state money? I mean Pitt has no problem raising enrollment every time there is more state money. Bigger doesnt mean better necessarily. I went to Pitt and believe me there were plenty of students that did not belong on campus. This way more money can go to the fewer students getting accepted. Problem solved. Yes, it is that simple.

  • Ming 117

    Get out and vote. Stop allowing these Republican thugs to get into office. All they do is cut taxes for the rich and payoff their rich friends. Corbett refuses to tax fracking. Why? The industry says it is willing to pay the extraction tax. Nah, what does Corbett do, he gives tax breaks to his friends and cuts education. Go figure. VOTE!

    • Ca Ching

      MIng…It is time to wake up.This is no longer your parents America. Your parents are part of a generation that have bled the country and state dry with their entitlements and unpaid for expectations. Then now that is time to pay for these “owed me” windfalls, they call for everyone else to pay. Face the fact, you and you children will be paying back this debt, not to the loan companies, but to the holders of the government’s debt for the rest of your life. Yeah, unfortunately, it stinks to be you (and me).

      • Ming 117

        Ca Ching

        Why do you hate your parents. They probably worked hard and sacrificed for you. Now that that they want to enjoy what time they have left, your attitude is kick them to the curb. Wonder how you feel about the other end of the spectrum. What say you about tax cuts for the rich, big oil, agrabusinesses, etc.. How does this square with government debt.

  • Ming 117

    redrock …do make six figure…just asking. Because if you don’t you’re siding against your own self-intrest like many of you on this site. You’ve been bamboozled by Rushbo, Beck, Faux news and Bachmann. I guess you’re just too stupid to figure this out.

  • JD

    There are other alternatives than going to Pitt that are comparable to going to a larger university and much more affordable. Regardless, tuition has been on the rise whether or not there are major cuts or not. That’s just a fact and it sucks. However, going to a university or college, many students think they have to have the best of everything when they go to school, and that generally pushes up the cost of everything. The sad part is many students don’t want or don’t understand the importance of working hard for scholarships or working at a job, just to pay their books and such. Instead, people just borrow the money. People and government live way above their means, and it’s coming back to bite everyone.

  • Shockly

    These students and bleeding heart commenters should read a little essay by Emerson, it’s called Self Reliance. It is what this nation and it’s soul is based on, or it used to be.

    • Ming 117

      There is nothing wrong with self-reliance. But what I have a problem with is you guys not asking the rich and/or corporations to pay their fair share. GE paid no taxes on millions. Silence! We subsidize big oil and agrabusinesses. Silence! We give tax cust to the rich. Silence! But let someone middle class ask for something and all hell breaks loose. We can’t afford that. We ain’t got no money for that. All you want is a race to the bottom. Be careful what you ask for. We may have come over in different ships, but guess what we’re all in the same boat now !

  • George Carlin

    I love America! I love the freedoms we used to have

  • Dont they teach economics at Pitt?

    Pitt raised over a billion dollars in the last ten years from private contributions. You could call it Pitt’s $2billion rainy day fund. Guess what? It’s raining! Spend with your own big pile of money and let the state get its house in order. In a few years ask for funding to be restored.

  • Tired of the whining

    —Students like Phil Larue said the governor’s cuts would raise tuition for Pitt students. “He wants to shut the door of opportunity on thousands of young Pennsylvanians who just want to better themselves,” Larue told the rally.—

    Wake up Mr. Larue.

    Pitt’s raised tuition each of the last 3 years:

    2010: http://tinyurl.com/6xqg2nj
    2009: http://tinyurl.com/6kzfb4z
    2008: http://tinyurl.com/67ha55a

    And I’m willing to bet that if I kept looking that I’d see tuition hikes in each other year, but I’m not gonna waste my time. Point being, tuition hikes aren’t new and they’re not caused by the “evil Corbett”.

    Maybe Larue should ask the PItt admin what they’ve done with all of the prior years’ monies from tuition hikes…

  • Ming 117

    bill, didn’t you get straightened out a few days ago by Shirley S. about using that 1940 term. Get with it Brother this is 2011.

  • Joe

    The only thing you will ever have to say to Ming is, “Double cheeseburger, small fries, and a coke.” Pay this class warfare imbecile no mind.

    • Ming 117

      Don’t leave out supersize the fries…LOL. Guess you’ve been bamboozled too. Seems like there’s a lot of that virus going around/

    • Ming 117


      I guess you would agree with the Gov of Maine (another wackjob) loosening child labor laws and paying kids $5.25 an hour. Hey we’re broke and can’t pay minimum wage. Seems to me we’re heading back to the 1900’s. Hey give me a cheesburger, fries and a coke…oh with just a fin and some change you’re right…make that a small fry.

  • Ming 117

    Good night kiddies. Oh before I go have you seen that the Governor of Maine (another nutjob) is proposing to loosen child labor laws. I guess paying minimum wage is too much. Wants to pay kids $5.25 an hour…hey give me a cheesburgher, fries and a coke..lol

  • http://middleofthefreakinroad.wordpress.com Thomas

    One Pennsylvania man is fighting for redistricting reform by running a 1,000 mile loop around the state starting this Friday. Here is his story:


  • Mike

    I’m sure many college students know that Obama cut Higher Education spending by $89 billion. Don’t blame just the Republicans.

    • Not In My Lifetime

      Can you get Fox News to admit that Obama cut spending $89billion ?

  • http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2011/04/01/nordenberg-talks-about-state-budget%e2%80%99s-impact-on-pitt/ University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg Talks About Pennsylvania Budget’s Impact On PittCBS Pittsburgh

    […] STORIES: Pitt Students Rally Against Proposed Education Cuts Corbett Defends Budget Proposals With KDKA’s Griffin More Local News Print Share […]

  • Empty Wallet

    Rally all you want, there is no more money. Get a job or join the army.

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