Consultant: Don’t Close or Merge Any State Universities

MANSFIELD -- Keep Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities open.

That's what officials heard Wednesday from a special consultant who studied the troubled state system of higher education.

"It definitely makes everybody feel a lot more at ease about where their job is going to be,” said Michelle Rohl, a staff member at Mansfield University.

Earlier this year, the chancellor of the state system of higher education warned big changes had to be made because of sharp cuts in state funding and declining enrollment in the state system's 14 schools, which include Lock Haven, Bloomsburg, and East Stroudsburg Universities.

Officials said they would need to consider closing or merging schools with the lowest enrollments, like perhaps Mansfield University.

"We were all kind of worried that with the closing and everything we would all have to separate, you know the friends, the groups, the people that you meet, the people that were your whole world for the past few years. So I think it's all a sigh of relief for now at least,” said Trey Gibson of Mansfield University.

A consultant delivered a report that called for state officials to change the structure of their board and focus not only on high school graduates but adults who need higher education as well.

That report also recommended changing staffing levels at schools with lower student enrollment, perhaps using early retirement plans.

“I know quite a few professors on a personal level and I know that it's more than just a student professor friendship type, a lot of them need this job,” said Moriah Seiders, a Mansfield University graduate.

Members of the board say they will take the report into careful consideration before making any final decisions about the future of the state school system.

"If the university closed, there'd be nothing left of Mansfield. We wouldn't be able to sell our house. It would be disastrous for the whole town,” said Rohl.

The board also decided on a 3.5 percent tuition hike, which is lower than the 7.5 percent members were considering. They plan to formally vote on that at a meeting Thursday.

17 comments

  • tom

    Here is a novel idea to save money and help all the other parents and students out, make the universities cut back or cut out the discounts their employees get for sending their students to the universities they work at, such as the 75% discount that Penn State students get if one of their parents work for the university. Just think how much the university could save or how much they might be able to reduce the cost of tuition for everyone else.

  • PAstuckin1985

    No use for Cheney they keep them in the PSAC so Millersville can get a league victory in football. They are better off combining Mansfield with Bloom to be honest. Make Bloom bigger and better, Mansfield isnt much of a college town and far from all the South Jersey and Philly suburb money which makes Bloom float. Some consultant.

  • GENO

    Put them all at State College. Teach them to drink and kill each other. And how to play Cornhole (with Sandusky).

  • Jonesy

    Hey, the liberals free education plan for the dumbest people in America are going to mean more wasted spending and meaningless degrees being pumped out. Good luck youngsters!

  • S Johnson

    Coacho, this report isn’t speaking about the Mansfield School District as you wrote. It is talking about Mansfield University and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or PASSHE. PASSHE is different than Penn State University. PASSHE schools are state-owned and operated while Penn State is a state assisted institution.

    • COACHO

      No kidding! I was joking! But Pennsylvania loves the duplication of services for wasteful spending! Thats the point I am trying to make. Sandusky and Penn State were just examples of a corrupt state.
      At every level its people getting paid and taxpayers getting burned. Like there is a real need for Cheyney or Mansfield. Come on! Just Like there is a real need for Single A and AA schools across the state with there little clique filled school boards and friends making 110 k a year overseeing declining enrollment! Then you got a thousand townships and boroughs at the top who do the same give there friends jobs and run the places into the ground and have taxpayers suffer.

      • PAstuckin1985

        Agreed 3.5 percent tuition hike to keep the declining Cheney and Mansfield open. Shut the lights out in those places already. Cheney people can go to Lincoln if they wanna go to a black school! Mansfield can go to Bloom or Lock haven. Both better college towns. This consultant must be delusional!

      • LoveTiogaCountyPA

        This reply is to PAstuckin1985 – I personally chose to go to Mansfield because I did NOT want to be in a bigger area. I still live in the area because I adore the outdoor recreation opportunities and small town life. I hear students from downstate/more urban areas complain all the time about how there is nothing to do in Mansfield. I had zero problems keeping myself entertained since I could slap on my hiking boots and explore hundreds of beautiful outdoor areas with ease. I grew up in a rural area so I appreciate these opportunities, probably more so than someone from a city background, not to say that all city folks don’t enjoy nature, but those that do are a minority. Also, I know that all of the PASSHE system has been in trouble for a while, but Mansfield really shot themselves in the foot a few years back when they decided to take money from the gas industry and restructure a bunch of stuff to support programs to train gas field workers…..and then the boom ended and they were left to support a program that no one was interested in any longer. In the end, it ended up costing them more than it helped.

  • Coach0

    Some consultant Lol. Is this the same moron that said Sandusky was innocent and Penn state tuition was affordable. Mansfield is as relevant as a school district who graduates 60 students school year but has multiple administrators making six figures.

    • J (@ds18301)

      Although misguided you are partially correct. College (or any education) asks you to critically analyze a problem and be “liberal” (def: open to new opinions). We should all be “liberal” in spite of our political views — that would make this country “great again”.

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