A few hundred university and college students from across the state of Pennsylvania rallied on the steps of the state Capitol Wednesday.
Many held signs protesting Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed budget cuts to higher education.
Faculty union officials claim the proposed 20 percent cut in state funding would lead to larger class sizes, program cuts and higher tuition.
Students came by bus from East Stroudsburg, Bloomsburg and Lock Haven universities to Harrisburg.
Students and faculty members chose a “Back to the Future” theme, and said under the governor’s current proposed cuts of 20 percent, sState funding levels for higher education would go back to what they were more than 20 years ago.
“It’s hard enough to pay for college as it is. I’m under loans, under all financial aid, it’s hard for my parents to pay for college as it is,” said Lock Haven University freshman Blair Allen.
“Haven’t we sacrificed enough? Haven’t we lost enough faculty, staff, majors and entire departments? Sacrifice does not entail gutting public education and giving tax write-offs to the gas industry,” questioned Drew Brake, a student at Lock Haven University.
The budget battle is still ahead and lawmakers including State Representative Mike Hanna, D – Lock Haven, believe the students have a fighting chance.
“If we have that type of grassroots lobbying effort, we have a real shot at changing this,” said Hanna.
Lawmakers have until the end of June to approve a final state budget.