Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Article

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Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education
TypePublic University System
EstablishedJuly 1, 1983
ChancellorDr. Daniel Greenstein
Academic staff
Students111,000 students (2014) [1] 119,513 students (2010) [2]
Location, ,
Campus14 campuses
Affiliations NCAA Division IIPSAC
Keystone Library Network
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education logo.png

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a large public university system in the United States. It is the tenth-largest university system in the United States and 43rd largest in the world. The system comprises 14 state-owned schools, all of which are NCAA Division II members in most sports by virtue of being members of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. [3] [4] Several schools also participate in NCAA Division I sports including wrestling and field hockey.

The State System should not be confused with Pennsylvania's other state-funded university system, the Commonwealth System of Higher Education that includes the land grant university ( Pennsylvania State University), its related campuses; and three historically private universities ( Temple University, Lincoln University, and University of Pittsburgh). While Commonwealth System members are separate legal entities with their own charters, boards, and endowments, the State System is a state agency whose board is appointed by the governor.


The Normal School Act of 1857 was passed on the last day of session on May 20, 1857. [5] Its passage created 12 normal school districts in the state in which to establish private corporations answerable to the State Superintendent of Common Schools. [6] Afterward, the School Code of 1911 mandated that the Commonwealth purchase all the normal schools. The normal schools evolved from state normal schools, to state teacher's colleges, to state colleges. Act 188, which was signed into law on November 12, 1982 and came into effect on July 1, 1983, established the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, and converted those state colleges into universities.

Universities and related entities

The system is a composition of the following 14 universities in Pennsylvania:

State System universities also operate four branch campuses. The Office of the Chancellor is situated in the capital city of Harrisburg at the Dixon University Center.

U.S. News & World Reports Rankings

University 2014 [7] 2015 [8] 2016 [9] Category
Bloomsburg 95 98 104 Regional Universities (North)
California 135 Regional Universities (North)
Cheyney  – Regional Universities (North)
Clarion Regional Universities (North)
East Stroudsburg 116 133 131 Regional Universities (North)
Edinboro 126 135 Regional Universities (North)
Indiana 177 National Universities
Kutztown 116 125 128 Regional Universities (North)
Lock Haven 137 Regional Universities (North)
Mansfield 135 135 131 Regional Universities (North)
Millersville 81 87 95 Regional Universities (North)
Shippensburg 93 87 95 Regional Universities (North)
Slippery Rock 93 83 75 Regional Universities (North)
West Chester 74 65 61 Regional Universities (North)


As established by the founding legislation, Act 188 of 1982, the primary mission of the State System of Higher Education "is the provision of instruction for undergraduate and graduate students to and beyond the Master's degree in the liberal arts and sciences, and in the applied fields, including the teaching profession." Additionally, the purpose of the State System is "to provide high quality education at the lowest possible cost to students." [10]


A 20-member Board of Governors oversees the system. Additional power is vested in the Councils of Trustees at the constituent universities.

Board of Governor's membership includes: four state legislators, three students, the Governor of the Commonwealth (or a designee), the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education (or a designee), and 11 citizens appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate. [11]

The Board of Governors sets general policy for the State System.



The board of governors announced on May 21, 2018, that Daniel Greenstein [Gates Foundation] will become the fifth chancellor for the system beginning September 4, 2018, succeeding Karen Whintey; following a national search. [12]

  • Karen M. Whitney; Interim Chancellor, September 12, 2017 – September 3, 2018 [12]
  • Frank T. Brogan; Chancellor, October 1, 2013 – August 2017 [13]
  • Peter H. Garland; Acting Chancellor, March 1, 2013 – September 30, 2013 [14]
  • John C. Cavanaugh; Chancellor, June 2008 – February 2013 [15]
  • Judy G. Hample; Chancellor, 2001–2008
  • James H. McCormick; founding Chancellor, 1983–2001

Board of Governors


  • Cynthia D. Shapira, Chair
  • David M. Maser, Vice Chair
  • Samuel H. Smith, Vice Chair
  • Harold C. Shields
  • Sen. Ryan P. Aument
  • Audrey F. Bronson
  • Joar Dahn
  • Secretary of Policy and Planning Sarah Galbally (Governor's Designee)
  • Rep. Michael K. Hanna
  • Donald E. Houser, Jr.
  • Rodney Kaplan Jr.
  • Thomas S. Muller
  • Barbara McIlvaine Smith
  • Marian D. Moskowitz
  • Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera
  • Sen. Judith L. Schwank
  • Brian H. Swatt
  • Speaker Mike Turzai
  • Neil R. Weaver
  • Gov. Tom Wolf
  • Janet L. Yeomans

Current enrollment and alumni

Almost 110,000 undergraduate and graduate, part-time and full-time, students attend State System universities. Nearly 90 percent are Pennsylvania residents and 80 percent remain in Pennsylvania after graduation. Minority enrollment is at an all-time high. A record total of 11,500 minority students—nearly 11 percent of the total student population—are taking classes at State System universities. There are more than 734,000 State System alumni, including more than 518,000 who live and work in Pennsylvania.

Facilities and employees

The total university campus comprises approximately 4,700 acres (19 km²). A total of 862 buildings with nearly 25 million square feet (2.3 km²) house classrooms, residences, administrative offices, and student support services. The State System employs more than 13,700 professional and support staff, most covered by collective bargaining agreements. The various libraries are connected through the cooperative Keystone Library Network.


Tuition at System universities for the 2016/17 academic year is $7,238 per year for Pennsylvanian undergraduate students and from $10,858 to $18,096 per year for nonresident students. The graduate student tuition is $483 per credit hour for Pennsylvanians, and $725 per credit hour for out-of-commonwealth students. Pennsylvanian students also pay a $448 annual instructional technology fee, which is $682 for nonresidents. Board and room charges vary, as do local fees. Students may apply for a variety of commonwealth and federal financial assistance programs and campus scholarships, as well as grants and loans. [17]

See also


  1. ^ The Daily item, Pa. university enrollment slips again, September 29, 2014
  2. ^ Press Releases - PASSHE universities set ninth straight enrollment. Retrieved on August 9, 2013.
  3. ^ Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. Retrieved on August 9, 2013.
  4. ^ NCAA Division Division II Member Sports Links. Retrieved on August 9, 2013.
  5. ^ John Edward Merryman, The Indiana Story 1875–1975: Pennsylvania's First State University ... Clearfield, Pennsylvania: Kurtz Brothers, 1976 (p. 18).
  6. ^ Merryman, pp. 18–20
  7. ^ "Best Colleges 2014". U.S. News & World Report. 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  8. ^ "Best Colleges 2015". U.S. News & World Report. 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  9. ^ "Best Colleges 2017". U.S. News & World Report. 2016. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  10. ^ PASSHE Board of Governors, Leading the Way, July 2004.
  11. ^ "Act 188 of 1982". Pennsylvania General Assembly. July 6, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2018 – via PASSHE.
  12. ^ a b Federoff, Stacey (May 21, 2018). "Former Gates Foundation director selected as chancellor of state university system". Pittsburgh Business Times. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  13. ^ "Pages – Chancellor". PASSHE (Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education). Retrieved November 6, 2013..
  14. ^ "Press Releases – PASSHE Chancellor Dr. John C. Cavanaugh accepts..." PASSHE (Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education). Retrieved November 6, 2013.
  15. ^ Escack, Steve (August 7, 2013). "Frank T. Brogan, Florida educator and ex-lt. governor, named Pennsylvania System of Higher Education chancellor". The Morning Call – Allentown, PA. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
  16. ^ "BOG Home". Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  17. ^ Pages - Tuition Schedule.

External links


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