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Pennsylvania System Considering Closings, Mergers

January 27, 2017

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is engaging in a strategic review that will include weighing mergers and closings among its 14 universities, officials said Thursday.

Currently, the state system’s organizational structure, funding and operations are unsustainable, Chancellor Frank T. Brogan said, according to prepared remarks delivered in an annual State of the System address. He noted that many state higher education systems are confronting financial issues and enrollment challenges by looking at mergers or closures.

“Is that were we are headed? That’s a question I can’t answer today, nor can anyone else,” Brogan said. “But it is a question we must ask -- and answer -- this year.”

Pennsylvania is increasing its appropriation to its higher education system this year. But system Board of Governors Chair Cynthia D. Shapira noted in remarks that the system is receiving $60 million less from the state than it did before the recession.

The system has 105,000 students across its campuses but has experienced five consecutive years of enrollment declines. This is the first time the state system of higher education has considered options like mergers or closures in its 35-year history, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

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Rick Seltzer

Rick Seltzer, Projects Editor, oversaw special projects and coordinated daily production for Inside Higher Ed from 2019 through May 2021. He joined the publication in 2016, covering finance and management. Previously, he worked as a reporter for The Baltimore Business Journal, The Bloomington Herald-Times, the Central New York Business Journal and The Harrisburg Patriot-News. He has covered numerous business, municipal, government and general assignment beats. Rick graduated from Syracuse University in 2008.

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