HARRISBURG (KDKA) – The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is exploring ways it could integrate several of its universities in order to keep up with its mission, which is providing students affordable and quality higher education.

Some of those universities — Cal U, Clarion, Edinboro and Slippery Rock — are in our area.

PASSHE says it’s currently reviewing the financial situation of these schools. It began the process in February before the pandemic hit, but has had to speed things up since then.

With integration, Cal U and Clarion would essentially combine forces with the goal of providing a low-cost, high-quality, fully online undergraduate degree and degree-completion program that is not currently available in the state. However, students who prefer to take classes in person would still have that option.

Edinboro and Slippery Rock could also potentially work together with the goal of strengthening and broadening available academic opportunities. This would work by aligning two programs into one.

The financial review will be presented to the board of governors in October. The goal is to have everything completed by fall of 2022 at the earliest.