Pennsylvania state university system merges six schools into two

Written by on July 15, 2021

Pennsylvania state university system merges six schools into two

By Sam Dunklau / WITF
July 15, 2021

This is the Renna M. Carlson Library on the campus of Clarion University in Clarion, Pa, on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Six universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) will combine into two umbrella institutions by next fall.

Under the plan unanimously approved by the system’s board of governors, Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield universities will begin sharing resources as one system — while California, Clarion and Edinboro universities will do so as another.

Bloomsburg student and state system Governor Zakariya Scott says some students on her campus have felt “scared” about the change:

“They don’t want their programs to change and they don’t want their accreditation to be considered useless, but I feel like this change will, in the end, make these universities something that is valuable and make them useful for working adults and students trying to become adults.”

PASSHE Chancellor Daniel Greenstein says accreditors and sports organizations like the NCAA are ready to work with the combined schools.

Greenstein says none of those schools will close, but will combine resources to save money. The lives of students, staff and faculty, he says, won’t change overnight:

“But if they do, if they do, they will do so only gradually, in ways that are communicated well in advance, and with an opportunity to provide your input,” he says.

Opponents say planners should have folded more of their concerns, like affordability for students, into the final plan.

Greenstein and others say drops in funding and enrollment over the years forced the system to act.

Staff cuts are expected under the plan, though system leaders say it’s too soon to tell how many.

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