- According to the latest proposal, six universities in the Pennsylvania State System of that officials intend to combine by fall 2022 would retain their names and identities after the move. However, they’d be accredited as two distinct entities.
- PASSHE officials also seek to keep athletics programs functioning at the six universities, pending , to further preserve their brands.
- The system has endured significant in the last decade, and the health crisis has only aggravated its financial predicament.
Details on the PASSHE mergersover the last seven months, doing little to soothe faculty concerns, especially in light of the pandemic forcing the system to .
System officials last summer proposed combining Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield universities in the, Clarion, and Edinboro universities in the west. The former trio would concentrate on stackable and nondegree credentials, while the latter would specialize in . The two new entities would each have a single slate of academic programs and a .
The consolidations correct the systems’ precarious financial position and enrollment, which dropped 20% in the. The .
Yet “chronic disinvestment” by the state will make that challenging, Andrew Koricich, a higherprofessor at Appalachian State University who has studied the PASSHE system, wrote in an email.
Tuition at Pennsylvania’s public universitiesin the country, and not just because each PASSHE school has its own set of leaders, which would add overhead cost, Koricich wrote, adding he’s “not convinced” the called-for student savings could happen without more state money.
“The sameup being spent, just with funds reallocated from administration to academic support services (for example), but quality and outcomes could improve,” Koricich wrote.
Mergers in other states have also proven unpopular partly because campuses are economic anchors in their communities, and alums and.
PASSHE leaders have repeatedly stressed the importance of maintaining the six schools’ identities. They were not likely to get community buy-in without doing so, Koricich wrote.
DuringThursday, PASSHE officials touched on the system’s flagging enrollment and dim growth projections. During the conference, Bashar Hanna, overseeing the integrations of the northeastern triad, said that those three universities could no longer rely on traditional college-age . Instead, he said, they need to look to “corporate partners, ” assess their needs, and that match them. Hanna is also the president of Bloomsburg and the interim president of Lock Haven. Hanna said the new entity would target students with some but no degree and recent high school graduates who aren’t looking for a four-year degree.
Officials haven’t said whether their plan would result in staff cuts.
Friday that it is “much too early” to speculate on potential impacts to employment. A system faculty union representative did not respond to an email Friday.