By John Clay

Published 03/11 2014 10:30PM

Updated 03/11 2014 11:47PM

Some state system universities in Pennsylvania may be able to become state-related schools. Tuesday, senators Andrew Dinniman and Tommy Tomlinson proposed bipartisan legislation that would enable some universities to transfer out of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. They must have more than 7000 students along with other qualifiers. Becoming state-related could give schools greater independence and flexibility in raising money.

To qualify for a transfer under the legislation and become a state-related university, the institution must:

    Have a student enrollment of more than 7,000.
    Have an unqualified audit opinion for three years.
    Have the financial ability to compensate the state for the depreciated value of its  property.
    Continue to contribute to the employer share for pension obligations.

The university's chancellor would be required to put together a timeline in agreement with the institution's council of trustees on the transfer process. Collective bargaining agreements in place at the time of the transfer will remain in force for the term of the contract. New collective bargaining contracts would be negotiated by the university. The senators said that transitioning eligible schools will bring millions of dollars back to the state system through the sale of buildings and lands, and ultimately provide an infusion of much-needed funds.

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