(March 21) Universities want out of Pennsylvania’s Higher Ed System

March 21, 2014 By Ry Rivard

Several Pennsylvania public colleges are looking for a way out of the state’s struggling 14-university system.

Supporters say a bill proposed this month would strengthen the state’s higher education system by allowing its best institutions to leave, while critics worry the bill would hurt the system, lead to higher tuition and weaken faculty and staff unions.

Trustees and lawmakers representing three relatively healthy universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education began a public push for the bill last week after working for months to quietly come up with the plan.

Even one of the bill’s sponsors doubts it will pass in its current form. But the end game, supporters said, is to eventually make broad changes to PASSHE, as the Pennsylvania system is known. The bill’s bipartisan co-sponsors have variously called the state system a train wreck and a house of cards on the verge of collapse.

The bill would allow PASSHE’s best-off institutions – those with more than 7,000 students and good financials – to leave the system and become “state-related” rather than state-owned institutions.

Full story: Universities want out of Pennsylvania’s Higher Ed System Ry Rivard, Inside Higher Ed, 3/21/14

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