State System approves new sustainability policy, seeks state investment to advance System Redesign
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KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education advanced its redesign efforts Thursday as its Board of Governors approved historic budgetary and policy measures aimed at increasing collaboration, transparency, and cost-efficiencies among its 14 universities.
The Board authorized the Chancellor to seek each year for the next five years a line item appropriation from the state Legislature up to a 5-year total of $100 million. The non-recurring funds would be used to create enhanced online learning opportunities; transform information technology including student information services; and a new consortium of shared services to support the System Redesign effort.
The consortium is currently being developed with the goal of sharing services and leveraging the State System's massive scale to realize long-term cost savings.
“We've made substantial progress in many areas such as transparency and affordability that are central to the success of public higher education in Pennsylvania, State System Chancellor Dan Greenstein said. “I want to thank the Board for its leadership and for its confidence in our vision for transforming the State System. Students today. Current and future students are counting on us to make quality public higher education affordable and accessible, and today, we've taken extraordinary steps toward living up to that responsibility."
The State System will make its investment request through the annual state budgeting process by sending its request to the Governor. The non-recurring investment funding complements a request of $487 million – also approved Thursday by the Board – to the General Assembly for the 2020-21 academic year, which would be used for education and general appropriations across the System.
To increase transparency and accountability, the Board also approved a new financial sustainability policy for all 14 universities. The new policy standardizes terminology and metrics used to determine a university's financial wellbeing with the goal of improving financial stability through collaboration across the system.
“We are reimagining public higher education in Pennsylvania, and the steps taken by the Board today will provide significant benefits for our students," Board Chair Cindy Shapira said. “Through these actions, we seek to renew our partnership with state government because their support means our universities will continue to thrive as engines of economic opportunity for our students."
The board met Wednesday and Thursday for its October quarterly meeting at the campus of Kutztown University. For more about System Redesign, please see an explanatory video
Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education oversees 14 four-year public universities educating more than 95,000 students. The State System offers more than 2,300 degrees and certificates in more than 530 academic areas. The State System universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania.