Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania sees increase in applications
As many colleges in Pennsylvania grapple with declining enrollment and shrinking student populations in their areas, the state’s Commonwealth University is seeing an increase in the number of new students and applications.
Commonwealth University, now in its second year, was formed by bringing together three state schools: Lock Haven, Mansfield and Bloomsburg.
The number of applicants for this fall’s incoming class is up about 20%.
While overall enrollment declined between fall 2022 and fall 2023, new student enrollment was up about 10% last fall.
Stephen Lee, vice president for enrollment management, pointed to a few factors, including a new curriculum faculty spent a year developing.
"We're really proud of all of the amazing work that our faculty did to create new academic programs that were sensitive to market needs, and that combined the best parts of the academic programs that had previously been in place prior to integration," Lee said.
Second is merit aid for students.
“We want to provide for the students that in some cases may not see higher education as possible, because of the costs," Lee said. "We want to encourage them, when they're in high school, to think about higher education as a possibility rather than looking at the costs and immediately saying, my family can't afford it.”
Commonwealth University has guaranteed admission agreements with more than 50 school districts. Students there can apply for and get scholarships as high as $7,000 a year. There are scholarships for students outside those districts as well.