Corbett backs some consolidation of Penn State campuses

Gov. Tom Corbett has suggested his Advisory Commission on Postsecondary Education consider some consolidation of the Penn State University system.

The 31-member commission will hold its first public meeting Thursday in Harrisburg. The panel is charged with taking stock of the state’s educational institutions and writing up a set of recommendations for the governor by Nov. 15.

Speaking to the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday night, the governor suggested Penn State should be a focus, saying the university has failed to control its costs.

“I’m on the board of trustees of Penn State and I’m asking the questions now,” said Corbett, noting that tuition has gone up 149 percent over 12 years.

“Penn State has two branch campuses within eight miles of each other. Is that controlling costs? Does that many any sense?” he said.

Corbett told WHYY’s Marty Moss-Coane he has concerns the Penn State campuses compete with other public and private educational institutions.

“As a result of getting state money do they have an unfair advantage in getting students to come to there?” he said.

The governor advocates a greater focus on vocational training, frequently using the example of welding as a high-demand skill. Representatives of public and private higher education and business make up the commission. Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce CEO and president Rob Wonderling chairs the panel.

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