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Portion of ‘RAND’ Report suggests consolidations of 14 state universities

HARRISBURG, Pa. – A report of long-term sustainability of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education is released by the RAND Corporation. The r...

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A report of long-term sustainability of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education is released by the RAND Corporation. The report gives a look into sustainability and viability options of Pennsylvania's 14 public universities.

Declining college enrollment and limited public financial support are listed the two big external factors threatening long-term sustainability of the 14 universities in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher education. The study points out nearly all Pennsylvania counties will see a decline in the college aged population through 2030. As of 2016, 11 of the 14 state system universities are operating in a deficit.

The RAND team says the five options they presented will increase flexibility and responsiveness across state universities. They are listed below:

  • Option one - Keep the broad state system structure but improves it's governance and the way the system works. However, the report states this option is unlikely to really address any challenges.
  • Option two - Makes changes to the governance and also consolidates the current 14 universities by regions into a smaller number.
  • Option three - Give the 14 universities the choice to leave the state system and allow them to function more like 'state-related' universities like Penn State, Temple, Pittsburgh and Lincoln Universities.
  • Option four - Keep the state system but put it under the management of one of the large 'state-related' universities.
  • Option five - Merge the 14 universities in the state system to make them branch campuses of the 'state-related' universities.

There is still a long way to go before any changes would be made to Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education. This report will be presented to Pennsylvania's House and Senate Education Committees on Monday.

The 14 universities that could be affected are:

  • Bloomsburg University
  • California University of Pennsylvania
  • Cheyney University
  • Clarion University
  • East Stroudsburg University
  • Edinboro University
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Kutztown University
  • Lock Haven University
  • Mansfield University
  • Millersville University
  • Shippensburg University
  • Slippery Rock University
  • West Chester University

To view the full 80-page RAND report, click here.