What Lancaster is doing for Affordable Higher Education.

Every year thousands of college students go through financial and academic trouble. Recently, politicians and colleges have been trying hard to figure out new ways to make college more affordable and boost the quality of academics.

By Richard Brown

Video by Richard Brown
Timeline by Richard Brown

Universities in Lancaster County are looking for ways to make college more affordable and to upgrade the quality of their academics. Millersville University is one of the colleges to begin this change. They have started using open education resource material and the Imagine the Possible campaign. Franklin and Marshall are launching the Now to Next campaign. Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) is issuing a 2019-2022 road map. The 2020 Presidential candidates are also planning on changing the way community college works.

Map by Richard Brown

Universities in Lancaster, Pennsylvania are looking for ways to increase the quality and affordability of higher education. Millersville University has made affordability one of their major goals and is currently developing strategies to lower the costs for students. 

  • Strategy 1: Dining services have started a “declining balance” pricing plan which brings down student dining costs by 14%.
  • Strategy 2: Using the open education resource material which saves students over $250,000 in textbooks last year. 
  • Strategy 3: Increasing the number of available scholarships for students. 

Millersville University also uses fundraisers like the One Day Give event to help with affordability. The One Day Give event is where people and businesses can donate gifts to many different categories like: 

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  • Scholarship Fund.
  • Endowments.
  • Marauder Athletics.
  • Corporate Giving.
  • Senior Class Gift.
  • Named Annual Awards.
  • African American/Latino Alumni Scholarship.
  • Reunion Giving.

Photo by Richard Brown

Millersville University is also continuing the Imagine the Possible campaign. Imagine the Possible focuses entirely on students with the goal of raising $32 million dollars to assist scholarships, student learning experiences, and athletics. In Dr. Wubah’s State of the ‘Ville Address said, “For the first time in our history, Millersville will have a lower total cost of attendance compared to the previous year.”

Franklin and Marshall are doing something like Millersville by creating the Now and Next campaign and the Trustee Endowed Scholarship Challenge. The Now and Next campaign focus on three priorities. 

Priority #1 is Advancing Academic Excellence which focuses on expanding scholarship support, student aid, support for faculty, and expanding its college-prep program. Priority #2 is Strengthening Student Experience. F&M wants to increase their career prep programs and services, improving programs for student health and wellness, and partnerships with the community of Lancaster to help students grow as leaders in their workplace. Priority #2 also wants to better the experience for student-athletes. Priority #3 focus is solely on enhancing the college itself by: 

  • Recruiting and retaining students.
  • Strengthening the student experience, co-curricular activities, and athletics.
  • Technological improvements. 
  • Enhancing the environment for living, learning, productivity, and growth. 
  • Supporting faculty and student learning, research, creativity, and discovery. 

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However, that’s not all, Franklin & Marshall have also introduced the College Trustee Endowed Scholarship Challenge. The scholarship challenge allows people, foundations, and corporations can donate money to the endowed scholarship fund. The scholarship is then distributed annually to support students from across the nation and the world.  

Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC), another Lancaster County, is doing something as well for affordability. HACC is initiating the 2019-2022 strategic plan which will help strengthen the college community. One of the strategic commitments centers on sustaining the college’s resources. In this strategic commitment lies five secondary goals that make the overall whole of the strategic commitment. 

  1. The first order of business is to combine the different branches of HACC into a single institution by 2020. 
  2. Develop a One-College budget and create a profitability method that establishes revenue, expense goals, and measures sustainability by 2022.
  3. Develop new sources of income and improve current sources of income. 
  4. Analyze the social climate of the campus and develop plans to increase equity, inclusion, and diversity. 
  5. Guarantee the College’s sustainability through the relationships with the diverse communities at HACC. 

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Joe Biden Higher Education Plan

Presidential Candidate Joe Biden has a two-step plan to make higher education affordable for middle-class Americans. Biden’s plan is comprised of three main goals with multiple steps. The first goal is to improve student success by investing in community colleges and training. They will do this by:

  • Making community college or other higher-quality training programs free.
  • Create new grant programs to improve students’ success.
  • Solving issues that keep students from graduating community college or work training. 
  • Make a $50 billion dollar investment in workforce training, community college business partnerships, and apprenticeships. 
  • Invest $8 billion dollars to improve community college facilities and technology. 

The second goal is to strengthen college as a reliable option to the middle class. This goal will focus on:

  • Doubling the maximum value of Pell grants to increase the financial support of low-income and middle-class individuals. 
  • Make loan forgiveness work for public servants.
  • Stop for-profit programs from profiteering off students.
  • Stop private loan lenders from profiteering off students and allow individuals holding private loans to discharge them in bankruptcy. 

The third and final goal is to support colleges and universities that are vital to their communities. This goal will focus on:

  • Make Historically Black Colleges, Tribal Colleges, and Minority Serving Institutions, more affordable. 
  • Build high tech labs, facilities, and digital infrastructure for HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs. 
  • Invest $10 million dollars increase the enrollment, retention, completion, and employment rates. 
  • Triple capacity and student support.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

If you are a college graduate who is having a rough time paying off their debts, then the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is for you. The PSLF Program will forgive the remaining balance on your Direct Loans if you meet these requirements. 

  • Work for a government agency or for certain non-profit organizations.
  • Must be working full-time.
  • Have Direct Loans or consolidate other student loans. 
  • Repaying your loans on a repayment plan.
  • Make 120 qualifying payments. 

Payments cannot be made while loans are an in-school status, the grace period, deferment, or forbearance. Furthermore, working full-time in AmeriCorps or Peace Corps also counts as qualified employment. Labor unions, partisan political organizations, and for-profit organizations do not qualify for the PSLF Program. PSLF covers any loan under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. However, Federal Perkins Loan and Federal Family Education Loan Program do not qualify for PSLF, but they may become eligible if you consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan.

Dr. Wubah

Dr. Wubah started his educational journal at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. At Cape Coast, he earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in Botany and a diploma in Education. He then earned his master’s degree in biology from the University of Akron; and after that, a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Georgia. Dr. Wubah has plenty of experience working in higher education. His first foray into higher education was a professor and chairman of the biology department at Towson University. In 2000, Wubah was also the associate dean, professor of biology and pre-med coordinator at James Madison University. Finally, on July 1st, 2018, Dr. Daniel A. Wubah became the 15thpresident of Millersville University.

John J. “Ski” Sygielski

Dr. John J. Sygielski is the 7th president of Central Pennsylvania’s Community College. Dr. Sygielski also had a hefty career in education. Dr. Sygielski earned his doctorate from Northern Illinois University. In the 90s he did corporate training, where he developed a corporate training unit at a community college just outside of Chicago. In 2003, he served as the president of Lord Fairfax Community College. He then served as the 6th president Mt. Hood Community College from 2008-2011. He was also a former chairman of the board for the American Association of Community Colleges. Dr. Sygielski even works with plenty of organizations that help local communities. He’s a board member for organizations like Broad Street Market Alliance, Capital Area Greenbelt Association, Harrisburg Chamber of Commerce, and Pennsylvania’s Workforce Investment Board. 


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Gorman, C. (2019). Trustee Endowed Scholarship Challenge.

Central Pennsylvania’s Community College. (2019). Strategic Commitment 3: Sustain the College’s Resources.


Central Pennsylvania’s Community College. (2019). 2019-22 Strategic Plan – One College, Uniting for Success.

Harrisburg Area Community College. (2012). One-College Philosophy.

Millersville University. (2019). One Day Give 2020.

Millersville University. (2018). Imagine the Possible.

Altmann, B.K. (2019). Now to Next: The Campaign for Franklin & Marshall College.

Millersville University. (2018). Where to Give.

Central Pennsylvania’s Community College. (2011). Ski’s Bio.

Mt. Hood Community College. (2018). About Mt. Hood Community College.

Voth, S. (2008). John J. “Ski” Sygielski Named New President of Mt. Hood Community College.

Simpson, C. (2019). Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges Announces Prestigious Two-Year Executive Committee Appointments.

American Association of Community Colleges. (2019). Former AACC Board Chairs.

Broad Street Market Harrisburg. (2019). Governance.

Capital Area Greenbelt Association. (2019). Boards of Directors.

Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC. (2019). Board of Directors.

Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board. (2019). Board Members.

Millersville University. (2019). Daniel A. Wubah.

Owczarski, M. (2008). Daniel A, Wubah named vice president and dean for undergraduate education.

Wayne, R. (2007). Academic leader at James Madison named Associate Provost at UF.

Mensah, L. (2019). UCC Alumnus Inaugurated as President of Millersville University.

Sass, E. (2019). American Educational History: A Hypertext Timeline.

Federal Student Aid. (n.d.). Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

The Biden Plan for Education Beyond High School. (2019).

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