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Board: 3 state schools to merge into Commonwealth University

March 3, 2022 GMT

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Three state-owned universities in Pennsylvania will soon be known as the consolidated Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania after a vote by the State System Board of Governors on Wednesday.

The board voted unanimously to make the change involving Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield universities, although those previous names will still be widely used — including for logos and on diplomas.

The system says Commonwealth University will not be “a public-facing identifier,” but rather a background name that will let the three schools legally become a single entity. There will be one accredited institution and a single administration, said state system spokesman Cody Jones.

The merger is seen as a way to provide a broader range of programs to students at a time when enrollment has been falling. The change is expected to make it easier for students to attend classes at any of the three schools.

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The change requires approval from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Last fall, the state system board merged California, Clarion and Edinboro universities into Pennsylvania Western University, or Penn West. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education could vote on both sets of name changes later month, Jones said.

The university system also is working with the NCAA to get permission for each campus to continue to field its own sports teams.

“We expect a decision sometime in the next couple months,” Jones said.