As the Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Mr. K. Leroy Irvis was all too familiar with the unavailability of higher education to lower income families. He knew there were many young people who were denied access to Pennsylvania colleges and universities due to their low socioeconomic status. He firmly believed that economics should not disqualify a young person the opportunity of a proper education. He believed in the skills and intelligence of all students, not only those who could afford the rising cost of tuition.
Through the contributions of many social equity organizations across the state, Mr. Irvis and his colleagues created the Pennsylvania Higher Education Equal Opportunity Act of 1971, ACT 101. Through hard work, dedication, and perseverance, Mr. Irvis made his personal mission of equal educational opportunity a reality that has provided millions of students the opportunity to pursue an advanced degree in the state of Pennsylvania.
To date, there are over 30 Pennsylvania colleges and universities that provide the wide array of services outlined in Act 101. Since its inception in 1971, Shippensburg University has been dedicated to helping its students receive the best education possible. Currently, Shippensburg University has about 150 young men and women enrolled in its program. Most recently, the title of the program has been changed to the Academic Success Program. The implementation of the new program name will allow more students access to program benefits such as tutorial services, counseling, and developmental instruction. Under previous Act 101 guidelines, these students would have been considered ineligible.