For 35 years, thousands of Pennsylvania’s most promising high school students attended the state’s eight Governor’s Schools of Excellence, intensive, five-week, residential programs in the arts and sciences — and they didn’t have to pay for any of it.
The schools counted successful alumni in all walks of life, many of whom recall fondly the value of living and studying on a college campus with similarly talented, driven classmates at a formative age. In 2009, though, the schools were eliminated, victims of a state budget crisis. Although some universities offered comparable programs in subsequent years, most of those charged students thousands of dollars, thus altering the applicant pool.
Slowly, the official governor’s schools are making a comeback. Last year, the Governor’s School for Science reopened at Carnegie Mellon University and, this summer, a school for agricultural sciences will be housed at Penn State University and one for engineering and technology will operate at Lehigh University.