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6 state universities to merge into 2 institutions

The individual campuses will remain open

From staff reports

HARRISBURG — The Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has voted unanimously to move ahead with combining six universities within the 14-school system.

The vote came about 2:45 p.m. at the board’s quarterly meeting and following hours of discussion and comment.

The vote begins the process of integrating Lock Haven, Mansfield and Bloomsburg universities in the east, and Clarion, California and Edinboro in the west.

A majority of board members talked about not seeing any other way forward as the system faces significant financial challenges because all of the schools have not proportionately cost-cut in the face of declining enrollments and minimal state funding increases.

The motion needed 12 votes to pass as a majority, but received all 18 BOG members’ support.

Chancellor Dan Greenstein said the system would, with deferred maintenance, contract costs, building, programming and other costs — basically be “bleeding” $40 million to $50 million a year without integration.

He promised all students they “will complete their degrees without disruption” and had positive messages for parents, alumni and host communities. He pledged that students, moving forward, willi be “enrolled in insitutions at the forefront of educational practice … that is deeply connected to community.

All six campuses will remain open, with integrated faculty, curriculum and enrollment, but some estimates put job losses at up to 1,500 system-wide.

The consolidation is to start taking place in the fall of 2022, with many details still to emerge.

The meeting continues Thursday.

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