Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education

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Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education logo.png
TypePublic University System
EstablishedJuly 1, 1983 (1983-07-01)
ChancellorDaniel Greenstein
Academic staff
Students111,000 students (2014)[1] 119,513 students (2010)[2]
Location, ,
United States
Campus14 campuses
AffiliationsNCAA Division IIPSAC
Keystone Library Network

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) is a state agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that oversees 14 state-owned colleges and universities. Collectively, it is the largest provider of higher education in the commonwealth, it is the 43rd largest university system in the world[citation needed]. 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[edit]

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.


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."[8]


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.[9]

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

Current enrollment and alumni[edit]

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[edit]

In total the university campuses comprise 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.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ "State System @ Center City". PASSHE. Retrieved April 2, 2019.
  8. ^ PASSHE Board of Governors, Leading the Way, July 2004.
  9. ^ "Act 188 of 1982". Pennsylvania General Assembly. July 6, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2018 – via PASSHE.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°17′42″N 76°54′16″W / 40.29495°N 76.90436°W / 40.29495; -76.90436