Harrisburg, PA – The presidents of all 10 universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and the 15 community colleges in Pennsylvania recently signed a pledge that strengthens their collaboration to help students achieve their educational goals, reduce student costs and bolster the workforce.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published the editorial “Pa. higher ed pact is a hopeful sign for State System” praising the “forward-thinking” of the agreement.

As PASSHE Chancellor Dan Greenstein said, “This pledge is great for students. It will help more people afford higher education and lower their student loan debt. That’s also an important step to address Pennsylvania’s worker shortage, meet the needs of the marketplace and expand the pipeline of talent from the classroom to the workforce.

“This new pledge is built on a foundation of collaboration between community colleges and State System universities. Together, the institutions are making it easier for students to transfer between community colleges and universities. And students will have a clear educational path so they can focus on learning and preparing for in-demand, high-growth jobs that Pennsylvania needs.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial notes:
“As the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education continues to reimagine its role in the 21st century economy, a pact with Pennsylvania community colleges points in the right direction.

“The future of institutions like Slippery Rock University and the new PennWest isn’t in competing with big universities like Pitt, or boutique liberal arts colleges like Allegheny or Washington & Jefferson: It lies in providing an alternative to expensive degrees with declining real-world payoff. That means training the next generation of skilled workers — including teachers, nurses, and law enforcement officers — the commonwealth will need to avoid stagnation and decline.

“The pipeline between the commonwealth’s 15 community colleges and 10 State System universities is already strong: In the last five years, over 12,000 students transferred from the two-year institutions to the four-year ones. As more and more young people and their families seek an education that will provide marketable skills without a six-figure debt load, that number should rise. Making that transfer as seamless as possible makes sense.”

In 2021, the State System updated its transfer policy to ensure admission to a PASSHE university by students with an associate degree from a community college in Pennsylvania. Individual universities and community colleges have additional agreements. 

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