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September 09, 2016

Report: Philly U, Jefferson one step closer to merger

Education Merger
12172016_PhilaUJefferson /Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University

Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University officials announced on Thursday, Dec. 16, that the two colleges will merge.

With a preliminary agreement made months ago, Philadelphia University's board signed off on a more definitive agreement Friday that means a merger between them and Thomas Jefferson University could be final by the spring.

“It’s a crowded marketplace and we’re a small school. We’ve got national awards for our curriculum and a 95 percent job placement rate, but it’s hard to get through all the noise,” Philadelphia University president Stephen Spinelli told Philadelphia Magazine in December. “All the sudden, we’ve got scale. I think the value of a Philadelphia University degree just got recognized in a big way.” 

It's a bit of an unlikely match. Philly U, based in East Falls, is known mostly for its design and textile programs while Jefferson's campus consists of medical students taking graduate courses.

RELATED STORY: Philadelphia University, Thomas Jefferson University announce merger plans

Jefferson's board approved the merger on Wednesday, reported

Spinelli will act as the chancellor after the merger, while Stephen Klasko will continue his position as Jefferson's president.

Combined, the universities will share 7,500 students, a 78,000 combined alumi base and a new title of the fifth-largest university in the city.

Though, many questions are unclear, like what Philadelphia University will be renamed. On an extensive FAQ page on the school's website, officials said the answer will come after "a thoughtful planning and branding process to make those types of determinations."

"We will look at what's the best use of this, and it will include some of the health and graduate students here, and what's the best use of that, and it will include some of the undergraduate and design students there," reported that Klasko said during a press conference Friday.

The merger still needs to be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.