State system of higher education merger raises new questions

Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — As more details surface about the merging of several universities in the state system of higher education, how will it affect current and future students?

Students will begin to see changes starting in the fall of next year. Schools will be able to keep things like their name, and athletic programs, but key administration roles and educational programs will merge.

The plan is for California, Clarion and Edinboro Universities in western Pennsylvania, and Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield Universities in northeastern Pennsylvania to merge.

The goal is to have parts of this plan done by fall of 2022.

But with any merger comes cuts — The plan includes eliminating over 1,200 positions across all 14 state schools, some positions have already been eliminated. This is happening because the state system of higher education is struggling, finances are not stable and enrollment is down.

So the redesign effort was launched. But what would happen if the merger doesn’t happen?

“Our system is severely challenged financially. It was challenged before the pandemic. It is now even more challenged after the pandemic,” said Dan Greenstein Chancellor, PASSHE.“I am not going to predict what would happen. I am not going to tell you that it would be good.”

The goal is that all of these changes will mean lower tuition. The hope is it will be reduced by 25% by 2026.

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