Six state-owned universities may share administration, business operations, faculty and staff, academic programs and budgets with a sister university in 2022.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors on Thursday voted to authorize exploring the “integration” of Edinboro and Slippery Rock universities, Clarion and California universities, and Lock Haven and Mansfield universities.
It’s not about closing any of the six schools or offering any school’s programs solely online, said Daniel Greenstein, chancellor of the state system.
“We have to maintain viable or traditional activities at these institutions because of the investment in the capital plans, but, forgetting that, because of the students who want to go there and need to go there,” Greenstein told system governors. “There is evidence that students unable to attend a regional university aren’t just going to get in a car or on a plane, they just don’t go to college. And we need those students to go to college and complete their degrees. This is about the future of the commonwealth.”
The goal of the study is to determine if the universities can cut costs, enhance academic opportunities and better use facilities, Greenstein said.
The integration study was among five options that Greenstein presented to governors to redesign the state system and make it financially sustainable while enrollments and revenues decline.