The Commonwealth Association of Students was founded in 1973 by students of the state colleges belonging to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education as a student lobbying organization to combat rising tuition costs and budget cutbacks that threatened the quality of college programs. In 1983 the dues from the tuition check off program that funded the association were eliminated and it ceased functioning in 1986. Donated to the State Archives in 1980 by the executive director of the organization, the collection includes administrative files and minutes.

Administrative File, 1973-1979.

Affirmative Action and Desegregation, 1975. Memos, essays, and reports related to affirmative action and desegregation in Pennsylvania’s state colleges. Included is a report on the "Status of Edinboro State College in Terms of the Affirmative Action Proposals Adopted by the Commonwealth Association of Students," a memo from the "Black Student Movement of East Stroudsburg State College" on ways to improve minority problems, a report from the Commonwealth Association of Students entitled "Affirmative Action: The Role of Students and Student Governments of the Pennsylvania State Colleges and University," and a list of nineteen objectives endorsed by the Commonwealth Association of Students that relate to desegregation.

Appropriations, 1974-1978. Press releases concerning budget appropriations, prepared speeches on the increasing costs of higher education, a copy of Governor Shapp’s speech on the budget, letters to the members of the general assembly, and statistics on budget appropriations to state funded universities. Included is a 1974-78 state-related appropriations sheet listing statistical information for Lincoln University and Cheyney University, a fact-file sheet listing state tax funds for higher education in Pennsylvania provides information on Lincoln University, and a copy of the list of state colleges and university deficits contains information on the cost of desegregation programs at Cheyney University. Also present is a membership form for the American Civil Liberties Union and a copy of the study "Patterns of Appropriations for Institutions of Higher Education" prepared by the General Assembly of Pennsylvania in 1955-56, in which Lincoln University and Cheyney University are featured.

Coordinators’ Reports and Correspondence, 1976-1977. Memoranda, letters, and general correspondence from members of the Commonwealth Association of Students. Several items deal with affirmative action and the need to get Black organizations on state college campuses involved in CAS activities. Also present is a copy of the Affirmative Action Register (AAR), a paper used to direct "help wanted" ads to minorities.

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