State Lawmakers Quiz Head Of State-Owned Universities On Challenges

The leader of Pennsylvania’s state-owned university system promised lawmakers a transformation amid declining enrollments and rising costs during a budget hearing before the House Appropriations Committee this week in Harrisburg. Fall enrollment at the State System of Higher Education fell below 100,000 for the first time since 2001. Daniel Greenstein, Chancellor of the State System, freely acknowledged that Pennsylvania has an overabundance of higher education. Still, Greenstein rejected the idea of closing one of the 14 state-owned universities. Greenstein said he hopes to overhaul the system into one where the universities share administrative resources, avoid duplication in offerings, and provide courses more neatly aligned to demand. Enrollment growth, Greenstein suggested, could come from serving adults who need to retrain or want to upgrade their skills in a competitive economy.