CLARION – Despite Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Greenstein labeling Clarion University as financially “insolvent” Friday during a virtual town meeting for Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a Clarion University official describes Clarion’s future as “bright.”
“While financially stressed, we are in a position to continue to remain solvent and have submitted our draft financial sustainability plan through the State System’s Comprehensive Planning Process,” explained Jim Geiger, Clarion University vice president for advancement.
Greenstein reportedly included Cheyney, Edinboro and Mansfield with Clarion as being insolvent.
According to a story published by the Indiana Gazette and written by Patrick Cloohan, only two of 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education universities (West Chester and Slippery Rock) were called “financially healthy.” Bloomsburg, East Stroudsburg and Millersville universities were listed as “financially healthy but showing signs of weakening.” IUP was listed as “financially unstable.”
“Our plan moves us beyond the impact of COVID-19 and gets us to a net-positive budget for the fiscal year 2022,” continued Geiger. “Our future is bright as we explore the benefits of integration with California and Edinboro universities and how our collective strengths can impact not only our traditional face-to-face students but also launch new markets for the State System for online students.”
No decisions have been made, but Greenstein said a decision to close a university with enrollment around 4,000 or 5,000 would cost $150 million to $200 million, in a system that only has approximately $700 million in reserves.
Other topics discussed during the online forum ranged from racism to tuition, and from the integration of facilities as proposed for several PASSHE institutions on either side of the state to building trust with lawmakers as a way to encourage them to increase state funding for the state-owned universities.