Pittsburgh Tuition Tax Averted

Trio of nonprofit and two universities agrees to help city with pension fund.

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Plenty of eyes were glued to the proceedings in Pittsburgh, where Mayor Luke Ravenstahl had proposed a 1 percent tuition tax for all students attending college in the Steel City. Along with the Providence, R.I., student fees ($150 per semester per student) that were implemented in the spring, Pittsburgh could have been the tipping point for a nationwide movement to tax college students in some way.

Don't expect Pittsburgh to be the test dummy: The city reached an agreement with one nonprofit and two universities­ to help solve the city's growing pension problems, the Pitt News reports. Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, and nonprofit healthcare provider Highmark agreed to contribute more to the city to avoid the tuition tax. Ravenstahl calls it the New Pittsburgh Coalition.

"This is a leap of faith for all of us," Ravenstahl said of his decision to scrap the tax. "The future of our city and our citizens is riding on it."

Meanwhile, Pitt Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Robert Hill told the Pitt News that students helped defeat the tax idea.

"Students played an enormous role in fighting this tax," Hill said in an E-mail. "The student activism in this antitax campaign is yet another example of the way students have helped the city's progress."

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