U.S. Department of Education Responds to Delegation Letter: Rendell Must Resubmit Application to Include 4 Universities

July 15, 2009
Press Release

Washington, D.C.—U. S. Representative Glenn `GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, heard from the U.S. Department of Education last night that they would require Gov. Ed Rendell to resubmit the State application for federal stimulus funds to include the four universities he omitted in his current application:  Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University and Lincoln University.

“The bottom line is that the Governor can’t make up new rules as he goes along and arbitrarily declare these institutions as not public because they `are not under the absolute control of the Commonwealth,’” said Thompson.

The call from the Department of Education came in response to a letter sent to the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, by Thompson and Rep. Tim Holden, D-St. Clair, which was signed by a total of 14 members of the 19-member Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation.
The letter stated:  “We strongly believe that by following the spirit and intent of the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funding), the Department of Education will reject the application in current form, and compel the Commonwealth to use federal funds to maintain state support for every public institution of higher education in Pennsylvania, including the state-related universities.”

Pennsylvania State University is in Thompson’s 5th Congressional District and the University of Pittsburgh has two campuses within the District.  The stimulus funds, about $42 million among the four schools, are important to the economy of the area.

“I appreciate the support of my 13 Pennsylvania colleagues and especially Rep. Tim Holden in achieving this outcome,” said Thompson. “And I am surprised and pleased by the quick response from the Department of Education to our letter mailed July 10th.
“This is going to make a difference in retaining jobs and dealing with increased tuition rates at these institutions.  We are going to continue to monitor the actions of the Governor to insure the intent of the law is carried out.”