- Pennsylvania’s community of 10 state-owned universities desires to spice up enrollment by 20% over the subsequent a number of years after seeing it plummet within the final decade.
- Dan Greenstein, chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Greater Schooling, outlined enrollment benchmarks at a gathering of its governing board this week. PASSHE will intention so as to add 18,000 extra college students — 11,500 undergraduates, 3,400 graduate college students and three,000 who’re looking for nondegree credentials.
- Greenstein advised the board of governors that bolstering the variety of diploma earners will assist fill employment gaps within the state, together with in sectors like schooling and well being care.
Pennsylvania’s demographics will probably be a headwind to PASSHE reaching its enrollment targets. The variety of the state’s highschool graduates — the place the system primarily attracts its college students — has slumped within the final decade and is forecasted to drop additional by 2036.
System enrollment has fallen for a few decade, dropping from roughly 120,000 college students in 2010 to roughly 88,000 now, partly due to the dearth of highschool graduates. The state has additionally slashed PASSHE’s price range during the last 10 years, which in flip brought about the system to lift tuition charges. System leaders have stated this pushed out lots of the low- and moderate-income college students it was designed to serve.
PASSHE pursued austerity measures, most notably a latest merger of six of its establishments into two, shrinking the variety of system campuses from 14 to 10. Greenstein has stated the consolidation, tuition freezes and extra money-saving efforts had been meant to reveal to state leaders the system was attempting to alter its practices.
These strikes had been a part of a broader system redesign, which simply entered its third and last section.
They usually’ve paid off to date. Pennsylvania lawmakers supplied a file $552.5 million for PASSHE’s working price range, a 16% increase from the earlier fiscal yr and the most important one-year enhance it’s ever acquired. The state authorities additionally handed on to the system $125 million in federal coronavirus support.
On the governing board’s assembly this week, Greenstein described the money infusion as a restoration of state policymakers’ religion within the system. Now, to assist meet employer demand, PASSHE should develop enrollment, he stated.
He acknowledged it’s tough to draw new college students amid the projected downturn in highschool graduates. Greenstein stated the system would flip to serving to PASSHE college students who traditionally haven’t accomplished a level — particularly low-income and different deprived populations — in addition to tapping into the market of nontraditional, grownup college students.
He cited statistics displaying that 60% of Pennsylvania jobs require a postsecondary credential, however solely about 50% of adults have earned one.
In a press release, Board Chair Cindy Shapira expressed pleasure concerning the system’s subsequent steps.
“Greater schooling throughout the nation is evolving, and Pennsylvania’s State System universities are adapting to it,” Shapira stated. “This revolutionary new section of our System Redesign will develop alternatives for college kids to assist them enroll, succeed, graduate, and revel in rewarding careers in Pennsylvania whereas strengthening the colleges for the long run.”