Will some state universities merge – or shut down?


EM TO GET ANSWERS. REPORTER: ISABELLA PORTELLES LOOKED AT A LOT OF COLLEGES BEFORE DECIDING ON WEST CHESTER UNIVERSITY. THE DOVER HIGH SCHOOL GRAD KNO SHE MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE.>>THERE’S A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES HERE TO GO AROUN>>THERE ARE OVER 350 INSTITUTES OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA. REPORTER: FRANK BROGAN KNOWS THE COMPETITION IS FIERCE. HE’S THE CHANCELLOR OF THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE SYSTEM HIGHER EDUCATION, WHICH OVERSEES 14 STATE-OWNED SCHOOLS, INCLUDING WEST CHESTER, MILLERSVILLE, AND SHIPPENSBURG. THE SCHOOLS ARE FUNDED BY TAX PAYER DOLLARS. MOST HAVE SEEN A DIP IN ENROLLMENT. ACCORDING TO THE STATE SYSTEM , CHEYNEY UNIVERSITY IN CHESTER COUNTY IS LOSING MILLIONS. BROGAN SAYS THAT COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT, DECLINING ENROLLMENT AND A DROP IN STATE FUNDING ARE TO BLAME. SO HE’S CALLING FOR A SYSTEM-WIDE REVIEW.>>IT’S TIME. REPORTER: BUT IT IS NOT QUITE THAT EASY.>>YOU CANNOT CHANGE A LIGHT BULB IN HIGHER EDUCATION WITHOUT PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES LINING UP, THERE ARE NO EASY DECISION IN HIGHER EDUCATION. REPORTER: THE STATE SYSTEM IS SPENDING $400,000 FOR A COLORADO-BASED CONSULTING FIRM TO EXAMINE EVERY ASPECT OF THE SCHOOLS. BROGAN BELIEVES THE OUTCOME WILL BE A BLUEPRINT FOR THE FUTURE. HE’S PUSHING FOR AN AGGRESSIVE TIMELINE, WITH SUGGESTED CHANGES POSSIBLY STARTING THIS FALL. WHILE HE DOESN’T THINK WE’LL SEE ANY SCHOOLS CLOSE OR MERGE,HE SAYS HE’S READY TO MAKE HARD DECISIONS.>>NOT TO DO THAT WOULD BE IRRESPONSIBLE. THAT RIGHT NOW IS THE TIME TO LOOK AT OUR SYSTEM AND ORGANIZ IT FOR THE FUTURE, AS TOUGH AS THAT MIGHT BE TO DO. REPORTER: STUDENTS LIKE ISABELL ARE HOPING THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT.

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