Feb 2020

Why Disruption Is Stealing Pennsylvania’s Students

Heads turned in higher education circles at the start of the new year when the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges announced an agreement under which graduates of its 14 community colleges could transfer up to 90 credits to Southern New Hampshire University and take courses at $288 per credit hour, or $864 per course—a 10% discount on SNHU’s prices and much less costly than the vast majority of in-state public options.

What’s so striking is that the announcement comes at a time when Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education has lost nearly 20% of its enrollment since 2010, which has created significant stress—and it signals that SNHU will continue to find ways to grow and serve more students who need further education that is affordable.

Commentators were quick to wonder why the tax-subsidized community college system was sending business to a private, non-profit from outside the state.

But something much deeper is afoot.


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