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The State With Too Many Campuses

For years, many Pennsylvania schools have been sounding the alarm about their future.

Pennsylvania’s State System of Larger Schooling, generally generally known as Passhe, just lately consolidated six of its campuses into two after greater than a decade of flagging enrollment and monetary pressures. Pennsylvania State College ran a deficit of greater than $150 million final tutorial yr. And Muhlenberg School noticed its credit score downgraded final yr amid analysts’ issues about “extremely aggressive scholar market situations and weak regional demographics” squeezing the establishment’s income.

Whereas some components — like declining enrollment, anemic state funding, and a dwindling pipeline of high-school graduates — affecting establishments within the Keystone state are additionally widespread elsewhere, there’s additionally a distinctly Pennsylvanian power at play: The state has numerous schools relative to its traditional-age scholar inhabitants.

A Chronicle evaluation of the higher-ed panorama in Pennsylvania reveals that 149 four-year public, four-year personal, and two-year establishments served undergraduates in 2020. That’s 7,570 18- to 24-year-old Pennsylvanians for each faculty.

Compared, two states that share Pennsylvania’s borders have extra 18- to 24-year-olds per faculty, which roughly interprets to a less-crowded panorama. (The extra folks there are per faculty, the much less crowded the panorama is with establishments.)

Ohio had 8,882 18- to 24-year-olds for every of the state’s 120 schools in 2020. New York had 7,655 folks of conventional faculty age for every of its 228 schools. The nationwide common for a similar kinds of schools in The Chronicle’s evaluation is 10,444 per campus.

“We’re in a state with a really giant personal sector of upper training, so the competitors for college kids is fierce, with a declining variety of Pennsylvanians,” mentioned Joni Finney, former director of the Institute for Analysis on Larger Schooling on the College of Pennsylvania.

Greater than 60 % of the establishments in The Chronicle’s evaluation are four-year personal nonprofit schools. Of this group, greater than 72 % derive a minimum of half of their freshman class from inside the state. About three establishments in 10, in The Chronicle’s pattern, are four-year public schools. The remainder are neighborhood schools. (For-profit, two-year personal, and graduate-student-only schools have been excluded from the evaluation).

Two-thirds of Pennsylvania’s counties are dwelling to a minimum of one faculty. The highest three counties by variety of schools are among the many state’s most populous. Philadelphia County has 16 establishments; Montgomery County, adjoining to Philadelphia, has 12; and Allegheny County, dominated by Pittsburgh, has 11.

For extra on Pennsylvania’s crowded panorama of schools, see under:

Lee Gardner contributed to this report.



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