higher education

Students walk on Lock Haven University campus
Min Xian / WPSU

Six of Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities will be consolidated into two new institutions under a unanimous vote Wednesday by the State System of Higher Education’s governing board.

A gate on the campus of Lock Haven University
Min Xian / WPSU

Update at 3:13 p.m. Wednesday, July 14: The PASSHE Board of Governors unanimously voted to approve the integration plan.  


The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is expected to vote on its plan to merge six state-owned universities into two institutions as soon as Wednesday, despite questions that critics of the plan say remain unanswered. 

Penn State Old Main building
Min Xian / WPSU


Penn State faculty members are calling for more input from professors, students and staff in picking the next president of the university to replace Eric Barron, who is retiring in 2022. 

A gate on the campus of Lock Haven University
Min Xian / WPSU

UPDATED: APRIL 29, 2021 | 10:28 AM

A plan that would merge six of Pennsylvania’s state universities into two regional schools moved forward Wednesday.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) board of governors voted 17-2 to initiate public review of the plan, moving one step closer a major shakeup in Pennsylvania’s higher education landscape

Penn State says about half the courses will be either fully in-person or a combination of in-person and remote learning in the fall.
Min Xian / WPSU

With nearly all classes finalized for the fall semester, Penn State says about half the courses will be either fully in-person or a combination of in-person and remote learning. Most of these classes are going to be small sections that serve upper level students, university president Eric Barron told the Board of Trustees Friday.

A new bill allows Pennsylvania youth in the foster care system to attend any college or university in the state tuition free.
Steph Krane / WPSU

Starting with the fall 2020 semester, Pennsylvania youth who have been in foster care will be able to attend any college or university in Pennsylvania tuition free thanks to a waiver program signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf this June.

Director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State Jennie Noll says the waivers will benefit a population that often has bad outcomes.

Goldie Blumenstyk is a senior writer and editor at the Chronicle of Higher Education. She talks to WPSU about how colleges can better serve the growing number of adult learners.
Min Xian / WPSU

Goldie Blumenstyk is a reporter and editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education. She covers a wide range of topics and is known for her expertise on for-profit higher education, college finances and more. Her book, "American Higher Education in Crisis? What Everyone Needs to Know," talks about changing demographics in colleges and the rising cost of higher education.

Judge Throws Out Spanier Conviction, Pa. Attorney General Will Appeal

Apr 30, 2019
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Updated Wednesday, 12:11pm

Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced today he intends to appeal the judge's decision to overturn Spanier's conviction.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A federal judge has thrown out former Penn State President Graham Spanier's child-endangerment conviction, less than a day before he was due to turn himself in to jail.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick in Scranton, Pennsylvania, issued a decision late Tuesday that gave state prosecutors three months to retry Spanier.

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (left) and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (right) took turns discussing the rising cost of college education at Penn State's University Park campus on Thursday, April 11, 2019.
Min Xian / Keystone Crossroads

Third highest in the nation.

That’s how Pennsylvania ranks in the price of attending a public university according to the most recent report from College Board, with an the average cost of $14,770 for in-state tuition and fees in the 2018-19 academic year.

Attendants watch the showcase of a live video conference during an open house event at the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College in Warren, Pa.
Min Xian / Keystone Crossroads

Kathy Wells started her career early. She didn’t get a chance to go to college after graduating high school in rural, Northwestern Pennsylvania.

In her words, she grew up in a “large family, small area.

“Basically, you work,” Wells laughed. “You don’t go to school.”

Now 48, Wells is an administrative assistant for the Forest Area School District in Forest County — one of the most remote and scarcely populated areas in the state.

Shawn Barbrow at podium
Keith New / PHEAA

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. — PHEAA — the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency — announced on Monday  the start of PA Forward, a new, low-cost loan program to help students and their parents pay for college.

Shawn Barbrow, a guidance counselor at Bellefonte Area High School, said PA Forward will help families fill the gap between federal loans and grants and the cost of college.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during a student town hall at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos called out the nation’s universities Monday in a talk about campus free speech and the First Amendment.

DeVos said “precious few” campuses could be described as “free and open,” and said a rising tide of censorship could be traced back to a “relativistic culture” in which truth is subjective.