October 30, 2021
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Pennsylvania state higher education system advances plan to merge universities – CBS Pittsburgh

By on April 28, 2021 0

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – The board of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education voted on Wednesday to advance a plan to merge six of its 14 universities into two new institutions, as the system grapples with declining registrations and stagnation of state aid.

The almost unanimous vote of the board of governors after a two-hour meeting kicks off a 60-day public comment period. A final vote could be scheduled for July, with implementation in time for the 2022-2023 school year.

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According to plans, the universities of Bloomsburg, Mansfield and Lock Haven in northern Pennsylvania would merge into one institution and California, Clarion and Edinboro in western Pennsylvania would merge into another.

All six campuses would remain open, with integrated faculty, program and enrollment strategies, as well as administrative efforts to ensure that each of the six campuses would retain its sports teams.

The plan calls for reducing the cost of a degree for students by 25%.

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The statewide faculty union warned that the consolidation would reduce the number of faculty and university programs, affecting local economies, increasing student-to-faculty ratios and lengthening student travel.

Enrollment has fallen more than 20% since 2010 to less than 100,000, due to the sharp drop in students from families with annual incomes below $ 110,000, according to the system.

The system received less state aid than it did in the 2006-07 school year. The council voted to freeze tuition fees for the third year in a row next year.

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Nicole Ford of KDKA will have more on this story.