In what could be a sign of things to come in higher education, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors unanimously voted last week to consolidate six of its public universities into two, reports Inside Higher Ed.
Here’s how that will break down:
[A] multiyear consolidation process…will combine California University of Pennsylvania, Clarion University and Edinboro University into a single institution in the western part of the state, and Bloomsburg University, Lock Haven University and Mansfield University into a single institution in the northeastern part of the state.
The first merged classes will start in the fall of 2022 but it will take another two years before the integrated curriculum is put into place.
This isn’t a new proposal. The possibility was floated last July and faced plenty of opposition among the various school faculties.
All along the way, reports Inside Higher Ed, “system officials have defended consolidation as an unavoidable effort to make the system financially sustainable amid enrollment declines and steep cuts to state appropriations.”
“These consolidation plans are really a temporary Band-Aid for a boat that is drowning in financial instability,” said Dana Morrison, assistant professor of educational foundations and policy studies at West Chester University.
The board members responded that consolidation reduces overhead, and that’s all important as the uncertain future of higher ed shakes out.
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