Will Flexible Tuition Help to Increase PASSHE Student Enrollment

New project strategy plan helps PA universities to stand up

by Aishah Aljahdali

Higher education has become more difficult to afford in Pennsylvania. Students are experiencing tuition increases and funding for the Pennsylvania State System of higher education universities has declined in recent years.

Due to budgets cuts from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, the PASSHE has created new programs for areas of need, which are science, technology and health care programs. The new plan system will contain pricing alternatives. This year the Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education approved the new strategy’s Pilot plan for Pennsylvania universities to increase:

▪Number of degrees and certificates.

▪Number of working adults.

▪Number of transfer students to at least 4,000

▪Number of Graduates.

▪Number of undergraduates older than 25 to at least 11,000

▪Number of students enrolled in distance education, including online education.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education agreed on a Pilot program plan for six universities: California, Clarion, Edinboro, East Stroudsburg Universities and West Chester. The first step of the policy allows PA universities the flexibility to charge different tuition rates according to the costs of specific programs.

Clarion, Edinboro and East Stroudsburg Universities will charge new fees for specific courses in their nursing programs. California University is to reduce the tuition for active military students taking online classes. West Chester University students at the Philadelphia center campus will receive a 10 percent tuition cut. Edinboro University, which is located near New York and Ohio, will charge out-of-state students more realistic fees to compete with other state Universities.

Pennsylvania Universities Lose Students..

Another issue that PASSHE universities face is the decline of college student enrollment.

PASSHE 14 universities’ enrollment has dropped 6 percent causing suspensions of faculty, elimination of programs and increased recruitment by others schools since the enrollments’ high peak in 2010.The number of enrolled students declined from 119,513 to 112,100 in 2013. The decline is expected to continue in coming years.


Therefore, the pilot project will give the 14 PAASHE universities the control over tuition rates so that they can stand up on enrollment and have not only the authority, but also the students they need.

The pilot program will be evaluated for two years, to determine the effectiveness of using the policy and if it can be duplicated by other universities. PASSHE Chancellor Frank T. Brogan claims “This is a potential sea change for the Board of Governors and PASSHE,”…The only way we’re going to know if this will work is to study it, vet it and actually employ it, to see if it has the effect we intended it to have.”

The goal expected to be met by 2020.

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