State schools

Board votes to merge 3 public schools into Commonwealth Univ.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Three public universities in Pennsylvania will soon be known as the Consolidated Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania after a vote by the state system’s Board of Governors on Wednesday.

The board voted unanimously to make the change involving the universities of Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield, although those old names are still widely used, including for logos and degrees.

The system says Commonwealth University will not be “a public identifier”, but rather a background name that will allow the three schools to legally become a single entity. There will be one accredited institution and one administration, state system spokesman Cody Jones said.

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The merger is seen as a way to offer a wider range of programs to students at a time when enrollment is down. The change should make it easier for students to attend classes at one of the three schools.

The change requires approval from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Last fall, the state system’s board of trustees merged the universities of California, Clarion, and Edinboro into Pennsylvania Western University, or Penn West. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education could vote on both sets of name changes later this month, Jones said.

The university system is also working with the NCAA to obtain permission for each campus to continue fielding its own sports teams.

“We expect a decision within the next two months,” Jones said.