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Recent study suggests merging Pennsylvania's state school system

A new study conducted by the RAND Corporation, and paid for by the Pennsylvania State Legislature, suggests that Pennsylvania combine its 14 state owned universities.

Low enrollment caused the legislature to seek options from the consulting company. Merging the schools could lead to layoffs, in all state-owned universities, including Mansfield University.

"We would have faculty that would be retrenched across the system," Dr. Charles Ertel-Hoy, a Communications Associate Professor at Mansfield, said.

Another option the study mentioned was to bring the schools under the management of a state-related university, such as Pitssburgh or Penn State.

"It would definitely affect the faculty here because we were a member of APSCUF," Ertel-Hoy said. "Penn State and Pittsburgh, if they do have a union, it's different than ours. It could mean the end of the union for us."

Another concern, is student tuition.

"If we were managed by state related schools that have a different tuition structure, ours can go up," Ertel-Hoy said.

The study says that universities in the state face strong competition because there are too many schools, and not enough students for a state its size.

RAND Corporation found that Fall Enrollment at Mansfield University from 2010-2016 dropped more than 30%. As a result, the schools estimated cash flow went from $3.3.million to negative $2.0 million.

"We are working closely with management, everyone is involved in recruitment with new students," Ertel-Hoy said.

The study says the state could choose just one of their options, or apply all. They also say it could be temporary, or even permanent. 

In a statement from the Director of Communications of Mansfield University:

While we continue to review the study, we are focused on ensuring that Mansfield University is prepared to meet the needs of our students for decades to come. That is our commitment to the Mansfield family.
Last October, the Board of Governors and the Chancellor unanimously supported a resolution underscoring their solid commitment to the long-term future of all 14 State System universities, and that continues to be the driving force behind the ongoing System Redesign effort.
 We remain ready to engage in any dialogue intended to help ensure our students have access to the high-quality, high-value experience they’ve come to expect from Mansfield.



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