After a historical four months without a decision, the state budget impasse is taking its toll on Pennsylvanians.
Since Governor Tom Wolf vetoed the entire budget bill, which was originally passed by the largely republican General Assembly, no decisions have been made. Meanwhile, students are waiting for their PHEAA grants as registration for classes begins.
According to pa.gov, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania must approve the state budget by June 30 as the fiscal year begins on July 1. If no decision is made, the Commonwealth cannot make any payments until there is an agreement. This includes all expenditures other than “areas that affect the health, safety and protection of Pennsylvanians or as required under Federal Law, state court decisions or the Pennsylvania Constitution,” according to the website.
State grants do not fit into these categories.
According to an email sent by the Wilkes Financial Aid department, students who have tuition balances for the amount of their pending state grants will still be able to register for classes. Instead of a hold on the registration account, the only process affected will be graduation. Vice President for student affairs Paul Adams and Interim Director of financial aid Karen Taylor could not be reached for comments.
Even though they are still able to register for classes, students who were depending on their state grants for a fall tuition refund are out of luck as of right now, because Gov. Wolf and the Republican lawmakers continue to disagree. Although the feud seems hopeless, politicians like Senator John Yudichak of the Luzerne/Carbon District are working hard to bring the impasse to an end.
Yudichak recognizes the importance of state grants to students, and is a former member of the PHEAA Board of Directors. He has continuously voted to increase state funding for PHEAA.
“I will continue to work with my colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, to forge a sensible compromise on a comprehensive state budget that makes responsible and sustainable investments in programs like PHEAA that add great value to both students and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Yudichak said.