Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education was established on July 1, 1983, although the 14 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 increase educational attainment in the Commonwealth; 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 more than 93,000 degree-seeking students and thousands more enrolled in certificate and other career-development programs, the State System is a vital contributor to the Pennsylvania economy. Collectively, the State System universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas. The universities have nearly 800,000 living alumni, the vast majority of whom reside in Pennsylvania.
The State System is currently redesigning itself to ensure the long-term sustainability of all 14 universities so that each may continue to serve students, its region and the Commonwealth.
Each of the 14 State System universities was established more than a century ago to meet specific needs within its community and regions. They serve that same role today, yet in a much broader way than originally designed. In fact, the State System has a long track record of evolving to meet the changing needs of the people of Pennsylvania, and will continue to do so. Dedicated faculty and staff work hard every day to successfully advance the mission and to serve students.
The 14 universities provide high-quality educational experiences while continuing to be among the most affordable four-year institutions in Pennsylvania—striving to provide every student, regardless of zip code or family background, the opportunity to achieve success and upward mobility.
Student success is the single most important objective of the State System and its 14 universities. It entails ensuring that students don’t just enroll in a State System university, but that they complete an affordable, high-quality degree or certificate program.
State System students are career ready when they graduate, in areas most in demand in the workforce. Graduates go on to become leaders in their communities, as well as contributing, responsible citizens.