Six of Pennsylvania’s universities will officially merge into two new institutions according to the Board of Governors for Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASHE). The facilities consolidation will be effective by the end of 2022.
The merging means that California, Clarion and Edinboro will come together to form a single university with three partner campuses in western Pennsylvania, while Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield will do likewise in northeastern Pennsylvania.
According to WXPI.com, the board explained that some of the most important goals are developing the curriculum that supports the new academic program array, fleshing out organizational charts and finalizing work with the U.S. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to ensure athletics will continue at each campus.
Cindy Shapira, chair of the Board of Governors highlighted the positive impact of the universities merging.“Today’s vote represents the most profound reimagining of public higher education in the commonwealth since the State System began in 1983. This effort has proven we can fulfill what we set out to do, ensuring student and institutional success while providing the highest quality education at the lowest possible price.”
The Board also appointed Bashar Hanna as interim president of Mansfield and Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson as interim president of California, to begin no later than August 1.
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The universities will have new names that have not been selected, but the plan is to keep all six campuses open with their own identities and brands, including existing sports teams. Both new institutions will have their own presidents and top administrators.
To cut student costs
There are 94,000 students in PASSHE and enrollment has fallen by more than 20% since 2010. The university system wants to cut student costs by 25% by getting them to graduate more quickly, enrolling high school students, raising more money from donors and grants and expanding federal work study offerings.
Chancellor Daniel Greenstein said students enrolled in the affected universities will be able to finish their degrees, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. In-person instruction and residences on campus will remain.