Enrollment at PA's State-Owned Colleges Hits 20 Year Low

This is the eighth consecutive year of decline.

Melinda Roeder
October 16, 2018 - 3:27 pm

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PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Enrollment at Pennsylvania’s state-owned colleges has reached a 20-year low.  According to the State System of Higher Education, enrollment fell another four percent this academic year.  This is the eighth consecutive year of decline.

Spokesman Kenn Marshall says one reason is the drop in student-age population. 

“The number of high school graduates has been declining rather significantly across Pennsylvania, particularly in the western part of the state,” says Marshall.

Pennsylvania colleges and universities also have a lot of competition from private institutions.  There are currently 98,094 students attending the 14 state-owned universities, which include California, Clarion, Indiana, Slippery Rock, and Edinboro.

Marshall says high tuition costs may be another factor behind the dwindling enrollment.

“One of the things we’re looking at is changing our tuition policy in general to give our universities greater flexibility in how they set tuition.”

PSSHE officials have reduced staffing at its institutions over the last few years and are now considering more efficiencies, but Marshall stopped short of suggesting any closures or mergers are imminent.

“We’re continuing to look at ways the universities can work together in all different ways,” says Marshall.

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