HARRISBURGSeveral Pennsylvania House Republican lawmakers gathered today to discuss the need to have a conversation on student-first, family-focused concepts to funding Pennsylvania’s institutions of higher education, particularly state-related universities. The press conference was held after weeks of the House Democratic Majority silencing Republican ideas and refusing to negotiate budget-related legislation. House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) said, “When we look at our state-related institutions, particularly Pitt, Penn State and Temple, many of our members continue to ask why we should continue to support these educational systems directly when so much has changed and we have both the means and the ability to fund the students themselves and empower families.” Rep. Eric Nelson (R-Westmoreland), who has sponsored one of several concepts put forward by House Republicans – a proposal to fund students directly – noted his proposal would create a fairer way of supporting students and families who are pursuing education after high school. Rep. Rob Mercuri (R-Allegheny) noted funding students instead of institutions keeps Pennsylvania’s commitment to both students and families through ensuring a long-term, future-focused, and legislatively supportable means of direct aid and affordability.