Tuition funding for Pennsylvania students could be shaken up in the coming years.

On Wednesday, State Representative Eric Nelson, R-Hempfield, introduced a bill to redirect funds from Pitt, Penn State and Temple University to students in the state at all universities, private colleges, community colleges and technical schools of Pennsylvania.

Nelson said his proposed voucher program would “empower” students who don’t want to attend the big three state-linked universities.

“It’s a big chunk of money that only goes to our three wealthiest universities,” Nelson told the Tribune-Review in May. “It’s time for a change.”

For nearly 60 years, Pennsylvania has distributed funds through unprivileged appropriation bills to Pitt, Penn State, and Temple, which then use that money to provide tuition discounts to students in the state.

Governor Tom Wolf’s 2022-23 state budget proposal suggests giving more than $580 million to these schools over the next school year.

Nelson wants to see that money in the hands of every student in the state.

Its voucher program would redirect those funds to the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, which would distribute them to full-time students across the state at all post-secondary schools. If the program comes to fruition, students with household incomes below $100,000 would receive up to $8,000 each year, and students with household incomes between $100,000 and $250,000 would receive up to at $4,000 each year, Nelson says.

A statement from Nelson’s office says the bill will likely be referred to the House Education Committee for review.

Nelson received a major pushback on Pitt’s proposal. Some House Republicans are aiming to redirect funding for Pitt as early as this year because of the university’s fetal tissue research.

If Republicans have enough votes to withhold funding, Nelson said that money would go to PHEAA, which he said would then distribute it to Pitt students in the state.

Pitt’s appropriations bill requires the support of two-thirds of the General Assembly. The legislature must pass the 2022-23 state budget by June 30.

Maddie Aiken is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Maddie by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .