Governor Shapiro Signs Act 11A Boosting Funding for State-Related Universities

ceremonial bill signingCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, PA — Governor Josh Shapiro has signed House Bill (HB) 1461 into law as Act 11A, securing increased state funding for Lincoln University and other state-related universities in Pennsylvania. A ceremonial bill signing took place at Lincoln University on Friday, marking a significant step towards ensuring access to affordable, quality higher education in the Commonwealth.

The enactment of Act 11A on November 16, 2023, heralds a 21 percent increase in state funding for Lincoln University, taking it to over $18 million. This boost will aid the university in its mission to train the next generation of leaders, fund scholarships, recruit and retain faculty, and enhance student support services.

Governor Shapiro, who delivered his first commencement address at Lincoln University earlier this year, expressed his commitment to the institution. “Our Commonwealth and our country owe a debt of gratitude to this university and I’m proud to be back here today to pay down that debt by signing a bill that increases Lincoln University’s state funding by more than $3 million this year,” he said.

Spearheaded by Rep. Jordan Harris, HB 1461 also allocates financial resources to Penn State, the University of Pittsburgh, and Temple University. Harris emphasized the need to provide not just access to high-quality education, but also assistance in affording it. He lauded the advocacy of Lincoln University students, whose efforts significantly contributed to the successful passage of the funding.

Sen. Vincent Hughes echoed Harris’s sentiments, praising the determination of the ‘Freedom Fourteen’ – a group of Lincoln University students who walked sixty-six miles to Harrisburg demanding state funding for their education. He credited their leadership and urged others to follow suit.

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“Today we’re celebrating the movement of much needed funding for our state-related universities, but we’re also celebrating the action and commitment of fourteen students from Lincoln University – the Freedom Fourteen,” said Sen. Vincent Hughes. “These students organized and walked sixty-six miles to Harrisburg to let lawmakers know it was time to stop playing politics with their education. With that sixty-six mile walk, Lincoln University students did what for 169 years, they have always done, lead. They lead with purposeful action. With this bill signing on this campus of great history, we recognize that leadership today, and ask for others to emulate it in the future.”

Sen. Carolyn Comitta echoed Hughes’s sentiments, thanking the Lincoln University students for their determination and advocating for the importance of their cause. “Their success in marching to Harrisburg and demanding that the legislature keep its promise to fund Lincoln was a testament to the power our young people have when they organize, mobilize, lace up their shoes, and make their voices heard. Furthermore, this was a success not only for Lincoln but also for the three other state-related universities.”

Lincoln University President Brenda Allen praised Governor Shapiro’s commitment to higher education, saying, “Governor Shapiro’s presence on our campus is a testament not only to his strong support for higher education, but it speaks to the value that he places on Lincoln University and our students. I am thankful for the endorsement of our legislators and the Governor, and especially pleased to have had this unique opportunity to highlight the impact that the actions and voices of our students made in this year’s budget process.”

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Lincoln University student leaders Drake Smith and MaKenzie Hanks joined the Governor for the ceremonial signing. Smith, who serves on the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Next Generation Engagement, emphasized the historical significance of Lincoln University’s legacy and the importance of continuing its mission. He said, “As Lincoln looks forward to 170 years of emancipation through education, we must all recommit ourselves to this mission of learning, liberating, and leading.”

With the implementation of Act 11A, Pennsylvania takes a step forward in its vision for higher education – one that is focused on competitiveness, workforce development, access, and affordability. This move is expected to enhance opportunities for Pennsylvania students for generations to come.

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