One state plans to consolidate the numbers of its public system of higher education


About a year ago, the Pennsylvania State Higher Education System (Passhe) took the first step by merging 6 of the 14 universities into a system that has withstood declining enrollment and finances over the past decade pressure.

As early as next month, the system’s board of directors may make a final vote on the plan to split the six universities in two. The University of California, Clarion University and Edinburgh University will become a university in western Pennsylvania. Bloomsburg University, Lockhaven University and Mansfield University will become a university in the northeastern part of the state.

All campuses will remain open, but each group of three institutions will have a new name.

M&A is both Common and controversial In recent years, the enrollment rate of the public university system has declined and financial instability has occurred.In Pennsylvania Proposal caused a lot of comments From the public. There are still many things to be digested by the public. “Western” Project It is 237 pages. “Northeast” Project It’s 199 pages.

If the merger is approved as scheduled next month, they will take effect in the 2022-23 school year.

The following is a numerical analysis of the basic principles and resources involved in the plan:

Since the fall of 2010, state system college enrollment has declined.

Attendance at Passhe University has been declining for ten consecutive years, and the number of students enrolled in the fall of 2010 reached a peak of 119,513. The number of students enrolled in the fall of 2020 was 93,704, a decrease of 21.6%. Without West Chester University, the largest and fastest growing institution in the system, the overall decline was even greater—over 27%. The number of students is 17,719, an increase of 22% since 2010.

The number of students enrolled in the fall of 2020 at the six colleges planned to be merged.

Bloomsburg University has the largest student body of the six universities, with approximately 8,400 people. The smallest: University of Mansfield, with 1,792 people-about half of the number of students in the fall of 2010. Nearly 90% of students at the six universities are residents of Pennsylvania. Excluded from the merger plan are Cheyney (the only black university in the history of the system), East Stroudsburg, Indiana, Kutztown, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock, and West Chester.

The state system council voted on the merger plan.

Voting began on April 28, and the 60-day public comment period will end on Wednesday. In a press release, the chairman of the board described the vote as “the most important reimagining of public higher education since the system was established in 1982.” In addition to the public hearings held in early June, the system also uses e-mail and online forms. Accept feedback.

The number of pages in the PDF of the public comments on the merger received in one month.

During the first 30 days of the comment period, comments on the board of directors swarmed from all corners: students, alumni, parents, donors, faculty and staff. The merger received some support, but many commenters opposed the idea. They cited the lack of specific information on how the plan will affect sports and student recruitment and retention, they stated that the merger schedule is rushed, and so on.

According to the merger plan, the cost of obtaining a degree is estimated to be reduced.

Even if tuition cuts are not at the negotiating table, students will pay less for a degree. It is expected that the cost savings will come from a shorter time to obtain a degree, as students take dual enrollment courses, online courses, or both. Lower student fees and more federal work-study opportunities are other factors that are expected to help students cut costs.

The number of system-wide jobs expected to be reduced by 2023.

The plan does not clearly state how many jobs will be lost due to the merger.but A report The Institute of Political Economy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst stated that the layoffs of more than 1,500 people mean that the system’s workforce has been reduced by nearly 14%, including the loss of 809 faculty and staff positions.

Funds used in the national budget to redesign the system.

The budget has passed the legislature and will be signed by Democratic Governor Tom Wolfe. This grant is part of a four-year commitment of US$200 million.


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