By Jessica Blake and Kathryn Palmer
The proposal calls for a sweeping overhaul of the state system as part of an initiative focused on workforce development and shoring up 25 public institutions.
As higher education systems and institutions across the country experience declining enrollments and demographic shifts, they’re also under increasing pressure by state and federal lawmakers to meet workforce demands and ensure they provide students a return on investment. At the same time, college costs and institutional spending are often outpacing inflation, even as tuition is on the rise.
Michael Horn, a co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, a nonpartisan think tank, and a specialist in consolidation, said these challenges create a “perfect storm” and raise “a sustainability question” for Pennsylvania and many other states.
“In industries hit by disruption, you typically do see consolidation. That is typically the first move you see … trying to figure out how to get cost structures in line with demand,” Horn said. “So my sense is … they’re trying to address those very real challenges and create a reset.”