Gov. Rendell cannot cut Pennsylvania's four state-related universities out of $42 million in federal stimulus funds, the Department of Education said today.

In applying for Pennsylvania public colleges' share of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Rendell listed the 14 state schools as beneficiaries but excluded Temple University, Pennsylvania State University, Lincoln University in Chester County and the University of Pittsburgh.

Last week, 14 of the state's 19 U.S. representatives sent a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan protesting Rendell's application.

They got results. Earlier this evening, Rep. Glenn Thompson (R., Centre County) said, he received a call from Department of Education officials saying that Rendell will have to re-apply for the funds, including the state-related universities.

"Frankly, the governor doesn't have the power to make up rules when it comes to these initiatives," Thompson said tonight.

Rendell had argued that state-related universities, which receive less funding from Harrisburg than those universities in the State System of Higher Education, were nonpublic.

"An arbitrary re-definition of these universities as nonpublic, simply because the institutions are not 'under the absolute control of the commonwealth' sets a dangerous precedent," the representatives wrote.

Contact staff writer Kristen Graham at 215-854-5146 or kgraham@phillynews.com.