​Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) was established on July 1, 1983. However, the universities that comprise the State System have a much longer history. The mission of the System is as relevant today as it was at its founding: to provide high-quality education at the lowest possible cost to students; to increase educational attainment in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; to prepare students at the undergraduate and graduate levels for professional and personal success in their lives; and to contribute to the economic, social, and cultural development of Pennsylvania's communities, the commonwealth, and the nation. 

The universities combine to enroll the largest number of Pennsylvania residents among all four-year colleges and universities in the commonwealth. With 90,000 degree-seeking students and thousands more enrolled in certificate and other career-development programs, the State System is vital to Pennsylvania's economy. State System universities collectively offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas. The universities have nearly 800,000 living alumni, most of whom reside in Pennsylvania.

The State System is currently redesigning​ itself to ensure the long-term sustainability of all universities so that each may continue to serve students, its region, and the commonwealth for decades to come.​

Board of Governors

A 20-member Board of Governors is responsible for oversight of the State System. The Board establishes broad educational, fiscal, and personnel policies. Among other tasks, the Board appoints the chancellor and each university president, approves new academic programs, sets tuition, and coordinates and approves the annual State System operating budget. Additionally, each university has a Council of Trustees that serves as a policy-setting board for the university.

Office of the Chancellor

The Chancellor is the Chief Executive Officer of the State System and is responsible for its management. The System Office comprises a small policy staff that works in the Office of the Chancellor (OOC) plus a combined group of staff from around the system who serve the universities and the OOC through shared services.​:​


Faculty Shared Governance

The Faculty Shared Governance Commission​ was formed in 2019 to strengthen system-level faculty shared governance by making recommendations that led to the creation of a system-level Faculty Council.  


Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees (PACT)

The Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees (PACT)​​ conducts conferences and workshops on topics of common interest, updates on System issues and national trends in higher education, as well as opportunities for professional development and an exchange of ideas with trustees from other State System universities.


Board of Student Government Presidents

The Board of Student Government Presidents​ is a unified board of 14 student government presidents that exchanges ideas, discusses common issues and interests, and serves the interests of State System students. The group also works to influence policy decisions and advocate on behalf of the State System. ​