Despite tuition freezes and strong local economies, Pa. State Schools see enrollment dragging

Pennsylvania

PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — From Shippensburg to Millersville University and a dozen campuses in between–enrollment numbers at Pennsylvania’s state-owned universities are down. Officials say that’s happening in many states right now–and no surprise, they blame COVID.

“It’s due to the pandemic. A lot of students who were thinking about college at that time decided not to or to pursue other things or maybe take a break,” Janet Kacskos, Communications Director at Millersville University said. 

With fewer high school students graduating, that means fewer enrollments, too.

In a statement, the Pa. State System of Higher Education says it continues to pursue an aggressive enrollment and recruiting strategy and its efforts are aimed at righting the ship, including growing enrollments, especially among groups of students that have been underserved.

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Something Millersville students see first-hand.

“We have kept costs down for tuition for several years in a row now. We also have recently decreased our resident hall costs as other universities become more expensive,” Madison Whitcomb, Student Leader at Millersville University said.

It doesn’t stop there. With production companies like Rock Lititz driving dollars into the local economy, Millersville University sees this as an opportunity.

“We’re making sure that the students get jobs when they graduate, so we have an entertainment cluster of new programs because the entertainment industry is booming especially in Lancaster County,” Kacskos added.

Officials tell us they’re trying everything they can to attract more students, including waiving application fees, and SAT/ACT requirements —all in the hopes of getting more young people into higher education.

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