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Bloomsburg added to proposed Lock Haven, Mansfield integration plans

LOCK HAVEN — Lock Haven University has issued a news release stating that Bloomsburg University will be joining Lock Haven University and Mansfield University in the potential integration plan as the state higher education system continues to consolidate.

The Sun-Gazette previously reported on July 17 that a partnership between Lock Haven University and Mansfield University was being considered pending a financial review.

According to the university’s news release, the addition of Bloomsburg University to this integration is considered a necessary step to “provide the needed support, stability, and scalability to increase the probability of success.”

“A new partnership between Bloomsburg University, Lock Haven University, and Mansfield University has the potential to alter the face of higher education in eastern and north central Pennsylvania for years to come,” the news release said. “As part of the ongoing system redesign plans within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, the universities will explore opportunities to collaborate and build on their existing strengths, create greater efficiencies, and expand affordable, high-quality educational opportunities for students throughout the region and beyond.”

An early financial review indicated that the addition of Bloomsburg to the pairing of Lock Haven and Mansfield universities could provide more support, stability, and scalability to increase the probability of success.

“Together the three institutions would expand educational opportunities for all students and leverage the talents of its faculty and staff,” the news release said.

“I look forward to continuing our existing collaborations with Mansfield and building on those partnerships, and expanding these collaborations to include Lock Haven,” said Bashar Hanna, president of Bloomsburg University, according to the news release.

“This potential integration would allow us to leverage our collective strengths for the benefit of our students and their success, and would create a synergy whose impact will be greater than the sum of its parts,” Hanna continued.

Any integration would also continue a shared services arrangement in place between Bloomsburg and Mansfield for human resources, accounts payable and procurement services, and the partnership likely would expand to include Lock Haven. In addition, the news release said, an integration would provide an opportunity to shape the universities for decades to come and foster enrolment growth.

“As part of this process, the brand and identities of each institution would be respected,” the news release said.

These initial findings are only the beginning of an ongoing analysis and financial review that will continue through the board of governors meeting in October, when the board will be updated on the progress of the review.

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