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June 05, 2018

Pennsylvania's state universities offering nine new degrees to meet 'employer demand'

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tuition West Chester University Smallbones /Wikimedia Commons

Tuition at state-owned universities in Pennsylvania, like West Chester University, above, will not increase for the 2019-20 academic year.

Pennsylvania's struggling system of state-run colleges and universities has taken the fast lane to try and offer degrees that will better suit graduates in the current employment environment.

The State System of Higher Education announced Monday that nine new degrees will be offered at five state universities. The new degrees are being offered to help students in the job market, as they were chosen based on "student and employer demand."

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Here are the new degrees and where they're being offered this coming fall semester: 

• Bachelor of Science in exercise science at California University of Pennsylvania
• Master of Arts in criminal justice studies at California University
• Master of Arts in conflict resolution at California University
• Doctor of Education in education administration and leadership at California University
• Master of Science in athletic training at Clarion University
• Bachelor of Science in accounting at East Stroudsburg University
• Bachelor of Science in marketing at East Stroudsburg University
• Bachelor of Science in civil engineering at Shippensburg University
• Bachelor of Arts in media and culture at West Chester University

The degrees were approved via a new, streamlined process that allows State System Interim Chancellor Karen M. Whitney to give the green light without a vote from the board of governors; the board only convenes four times a year.

Pennsylvania's 14 state-run colleges and universities have been plagued by financial woes, a shrinking in-state enrollment pool and a lack of state aid in recent years. 

A study earlier this year suggested considering radical changes to the state system, including consolidating down to eight or even five schools, making the schools branches of other, state-related universities or even eliminating the state-run system altogether.

The state system is currently undergoing a "System Redesign," which entails a review of the organization's governance structure, making sure students can still succeed and trying to leverage each school's strengths.