Several leading Pennsylvania universities that receive millions of dollars in state aid must publicly disclose more records about their finances, hiring and operations, under legislation signed by Gov. Josh Shapiro on Thursday.
Shapiro, a Democrat, signed the bill a day after the Senate approved it unanimously.
For years, lawmakers have sought to expand public disclosure requirements to include Pennsylvania’s four relevant state universities: the University of Pittsburgh, Temple, Lincoln and Penn State universities.
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The schools supported the bill that passed.
Under it, universities will be required to publish various information about their finances, recruitment and operations. They have already produced some voluntarily, such as minutes of open meetings of their boards of trustees, and registration and staffing numbers.
In addition, universities will be required to list the salaries of all administrators and directors, as well as up to the 200 highest-paid employees, as well as faculty salary ranges. They will have to report detailed financial information for each academic and administrative support unit and any institution funded by tuition or taxpayer funds, as well as detailed information about staff classification and course credits.
Schools would also have to post information about every contract exceeding $5,000 online and submit it to the governor’s office and Legislature.
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The four universities, referred to as “state-associated universities,” are not state-owned, but receive hundreds of millions in taxpayer money to support tuition and in-state operations.
The bill passed on the same day lawmakers resolved a partisan battle over hundreds of millions of dollars in annual aid the state sends to the four schools.
Lincoln University received a $3 million increase after keeping tuition flat for the 2023-24 academic year. The other three schools increased tuition, hardening Republican opposition to giving them a raise. Shapiro signed $603 million in aid into law on Thursday.
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Universities are exempt from Pennsylvania’s open records law covering state agencies, including state-owned universities in the Pennsylvania System of Higher Education.