Improve access, affordability, and completion in post-secondary education and training

"Our responsibility to provide a great education does not end with high school. Reinvesting in higher education and community colleges will help prepare people for jobs that pay. Rebuilding the middle class and creating a better future for all Pennsylvanians depends on a skilled workforce and a real-world education and training strategy."
-Governor Tom Wolf

Why is this goal important?

In the 21st century, most family-sustaining jobs will require some education or training beyond high school. It is vital to the future of our commonwealth to support Pennsylvania's higher education institutions in preparing the next generation of Pennsylvanians to succeed in the 21st-century workforce. However, attending a four-year college or university is not the only path to a successful career for Pennsylvania's high school graduates. It is also vital to the future of our commonwealth that students who do not go to college have access to skills training that enables them to compete and succeed in today's economy. 

What are we working on to reach this goal?

Governor Wolf is committed to making higher education more affordable for middle-class families. Since taking office, the Wolf Administration has secured a total funding increase of more than $400million for higher education. As part of his PAsmart initiative, the governor has made a $36 million investment in workforce development in Pennsylvania, which includes funding for post-secondary education. In recognition of the sacrifices that Pennsylvania National Guard members and their families make to protect the commonwealth, Governor Wolf signed the first-of-its-kind Pennsylvania GI Bill into law to help the children and spouses of Pennsylvania National Guard members afford a post-secondary education. In addition, the Wolf Administration ensured that Pennsylvanians would no longer need to pay state income tax on student loan debt relief from the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program and the Pennsylvania Student Loan Relief for Nurses (SLRN) Program. The Wolf Administration also launched the “It’s On Us PA” Campus Sexual Assault Prevention initiative to help colleges and universities prevent sexual assault and establish campus cultures where sexual assault and harassment are not tolerated.

How are we doing?

Governor Wolf has set a goal to increase the share of working-age Pennsylvanians with an industry-recognized certificate or degree to 60 percent by 2025. In 2016, 41.7 percent of working-age Pennsylvanians (ages 25 to 64) had a post-secondary degree. It is estimated that another 3 percent of working-age Pennsylvanians had a post-secondary certificate.    

Related Measures

Post-Secondary Degrees Awarded

The chart below shows the number of degrees awarded by Pennsylvania's higher education institutions. 

STEM Enrollment

The chart below documents the number of undergraduate students at Pennsylvania's publicly supported institutions enrolled in STEM degree programs.

PA National Guard Educational Assistance Program (EAP)

The PA National Guard Education Assistance Program (EAP) provides funding for eligible members who enroll in a degree, a certification course of study or training required for entrance into a specific career. The course of study may be pursued on a full time or part time basis at a Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) approved school.

PA National Guard Medical and Health Officer Incentives

This program provides assistance to eligible Pennsylvania National Guard members who agree to serve as a medical officer or health officer in the Pennsylvania National Guard after completion of residency or initial service obligation for a period of one month for each monthly stipend received.

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