Statement from President Charles J. Dougherty on the Mayor's Proposed Tuition Tax
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today announced a proposal to place a 1% tax on college students. This proposal is an attack on college access and affordability, and will serve as a barrier to families who are trying to achieve a better future through education.
The Mayor's proposed tax on college students conflicts with national efforts to reduce the cost of a college education, and directly contradicts his December 13, 2006 press release announcing the Pittsburgh Promise, in which he identifies affordability as one of the primary barriers to college access.
The Mayor's proposal places the burden of balancing the City budget on the backs of college students. This will weaken Pittsburgh's credibility as a progressive place to live and work, further hindering community and economic development efforts. As Duquesne and other local institutions work to recruit the best and brightest students to Pittsburgh, this tax will serve as a competitive disadvantage when prospective students compare us to universities in cities that do not impose such a tax. As the city continues to lose population and struggles to retain young adults as residents, it would be extremely shortsighted to create a disincentive for students to come to Pittsburgh colleges and universities.
Taxes on higher education institutions have previously been judged illegal by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and it is our belief that the Mayor's proposed tax is similarly illegal. Duquesne strongly opposes this measure and will join with the other members of the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education to ensure that the Mayor does not erode access to higher education.
Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.