Patricia Marrero, Ballot Position No. 8
Read Marrero’s official bio and position statement here (PDF download).
Answers to Questions
1. In view of sharply declining state appropriations, what steps should Penn State be taking to secure its financial future?
Any company or large institution is facing the same problems as Penn State. It’s always a question of revenue vs expenses. With state appropriations declining, Penn State needs to address the bottom line and look at expenses more closely as well as continuing to raise donations. There isn’t one simple solution. It’s usually a combination of factors that will go into coming in at budget. Every expense should be scrutinized and looked at – is this a necessary expense for day-to-day; is this a must-have or nice-to-have? Do we need to build that new building? Will it improve our output? Some things will have to be cut and it won’t make everybody happy, but in order to survive and thrive, the expense line needs to be looked at more closely.
2. The rising cost of tuition nationally is making college less affordable for many students. Outline the steps you believe Penn State should be taking to address the issue.
It is Penn State’s duty as the state school to keep in-state tuition as affordable as possible. Penn State provides a world-class education along the lines of many private institutions and needs to keep costs in line with choices for in-state students. That being said, applications to attend Penn State are at an all-time high and students across the country see value in choosing whether to attend Penn State or another institution. As long as there is demand, it will be hard to lower the out-of-state tuition. I was out-of-state, took loans, worked 2 jobs and still managed to graduate in 4 years. It can be done.
3. What form should Penn State’s land-grant mission take in the 21st century?
The land-grant question is not such a simple one. Do we stay land-grant? Go private? Or is it a combination of the 2? This is something that needs to be decided by taking a hard look at the pluses and minuses financially. We are entering a time where state funding has declined year over year and I see no indications of this trend reversing. Penn State needs to look long and hard at its options and how we can thrive as a first-rate research institution with first-class faculty, students and still operate in the black without charging an exorbitant amount for tuition.