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PASSHE report: Don’t close any colleges, improve leadership

From the (Allentown) Morning Call

Silence filled the board room Wednesday at the Harrisburg headquarters of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education during a presentation on a highly anticipated report about the system’s rising costs and falling enrollments.

At the same time, a collective sigh of relief may have wafted across small towns that rely on PASSHE for good jobs and cultural activities.

Despite months of fear over possible shutdowns, none of the state’s 14 taxpayer-funded public universities should be closed or merged, a consultant told a committee of PASSHE’s Board of Governors.

Closing institutions would leave a hole in communities they were meant to serve at a time when middle-class families are feeling the brunt of rising tuition costs, said Dennis Jones, president emeritus of National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, a Colorado nonprofit that studies universities in crisis. Merging universities does not save a lot of money, as Georgia has learned during its ongoing mergers, he added.

The report also recommended PASSHE should not eliminate the chancellor’s office, to allow the system to keep economies of scale in purchasing and keep some centralized management functions.

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PA Workforce Development Association