Cutler’s Bill to Provide College Cost Information to Students Becomes Budget Public School Code
HARRISBURG – State Rep. Bryan Cutler’s (R-Peach Bottom) House Bill 1448, which would provide important cost-related information to prospective college students and their families, has become the Public School Code of the 2018-19 budget package.

House Bill 1448 received unanimous support from the General Assembly before becoming the Public School Code. It would make readily available an online resource to help students choose a college or university that best meets their financial needs and prepares them for in-demand careers.

“It only makes sense to put information we’re already collecting into one spot where students and families can easily access it,” Cutler said. “Considering higher education options can be time consuming and overwhelming, but being able to use this critical information should help to simplify the process.”

The bill would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to provide direct links to the College Navigator Website, operated by the United States Department of Education, with a description of the uses and features of the website. In the same location on PDE’s website, a direct link to the High Priority Occupations public website of the state Department of Labor and Industry must be present, with a description of what high-priority occupations are and how they are identified.

It would also dictate that the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) provide a link on its website to the information offered by PDE and require school entities to annually provide this information to students in grades nine through 12.

Should the United States Department of Education discontinue the College Navigator Website, PDE would be required to create a comparison tool on its website to allow users to quickly and easily examine many of the factors that are important to parents and students, such as net tuition and fees, graduation and retention rates, percentage of students receiving federal aid and average borrowing amounts.

Community colleges, universities within the State System of Higher Education, Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, Temple University, Lincoln University, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology and any other institution of higher learning that receives state funding would be required to participate. The legislation would also include nonprofit, for-profit and rural regional colleges or universities incorporated in Pennsylvania.

The Public School Code also contains amendments that would provide flexibility in certification of Career and Technical Education teachers and increase the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program by $25 million.

The EITC program provides businesses with tax credits in exchange for their voluntary contributions to organizations that fund various educational opportunities including scholarships and innovative programming.

“We know that students learn differently and perform best in varied settings. The EITC program helps families to access opportunities for their children’s success that may not otherwise be available to them. It really is a win for students and for businesses,” Cutler said.

The Public School Code now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Bryan Cutler
100th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Alison Evans
717.260.6206 /

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