Pa. passes higher education vote to merge 6 universities

Regional News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — On July 14, a measure to integrate six institutions into two new universities was unanimously passed by the board of governors for Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). The most recent measure is a multi-year system redesign effort to help with student success and institutional sustainability.

The California University of Pennsylvania, Clarion University and Edinboro University will form a single university with three partner campuses in western Pa. While Bloomsburg University, Lock Haven University and Mansfield University will also combine in northeastern Pa.

“Today’s vote represents the most profound reimagining of public higher education in the Commonwealth since the State System began in 1983,” Cindy Shapira, chair of the Board of Governors, said.

The six institutions will each maintain their historical names and identities, plus the residential educational experience. The measure’s goal is to expand academic program opportunities, enhance supports and resources to help students and reach communities that are currently underserved.

“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,” Shapira said.

According to the press release, efforts to complete the two integrations will take years. With developing the curriculum that the new academic program array, the process will also involve fleshing out organizational charts and finalizing work with the NCAA to ensure athletics will remain on each campus.

“As we have said from the beginning, building an integrated university will take time,” Chancellor Dan Greenstein said. “You cannot flip a switch and expect it to be done.”

Integrations mean that the three partner campuses will be a single administration, budget, unified faculty and student information system to help put them on a more solid financial footing and expanding the number of programs offered.

The first cohort of students will begin at an integrated university in August 2022 and the integrated curriculum being finalized by August 2024.

“These universities have been part of the cultural and economic fabric of their communities for well over a century and they will continue to be so for years to come. Additionally, the degrees they offer to new graduates, as well as those held by alumni will maintain the highest value,” Greenstein said.

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