The integration of Lock Haven, Bloomsburg and Mansfield universities has received initial approval by the institutional accrediting agency, Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
Accreditation by Middle States is required by the U.S. Department of Education and assures students, families and communities the university has completed a rigorous review process and provides a high-quality education.
In approving the Complex Substantive Change request, Middle States provides a clear path forward for these three institutions to officially unite on July 1, 2022.
Northeast integration leader Dr. Bashar Hanna, president of Bloomsburg and interim president of Lock Haven and Mansfield universities, feels the integration will strengthen the three universities.
"Together, Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield embody the power of three, which will create a higher education experience, the likes of which, is not possible without integration," Hanna said.
"Our mission is to expand high-quality, affordable academic opportunities that support the needs of all learners," he added. "We are grateful to MSCHE for this expression of confidence in our approach. Our students deserve the very best of us, and we are all here in service to them and in support of their bright futures."
Chancellor Daniel Greenstein, of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education, said integration is a key element of PASSHE's System Redesign.
"The commission's decision is another positive step toward building a powerhouse institution that will provide more opportunities for students than any of the universities could on its own," Greenstein said.
"It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of President Dr. Bashar Hanna and the students, faculty, staff and trustees at Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield," he added. "Together, they will harness the rich heritage of partner campuses and combine their strengths in meeting the high standards required for accreditation while delivering affordable, high quality, career-relevant education to all."
Earlier this month, the Board of Governors of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education voted to approve the name Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania to represent the integrated entity for Lock Haven, Bloomsburg and Mansfield universities. Commonwealth University will not serve as the public-facing identifier, but will remain in the background, allowing the universities to legally and compliantly become one entity while maintaining its strong brands regionally and beyond.
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