2017-03-18 / Viewpoints

Mansfield Univ. worth saving

BY REP. MATT BAKER

(Matt Baker of Tioga County represents the 67th District in the Pa. House of Representatives. Mansfield University, which lies in the 67th District, is the second smallest of the 14 state universities with 2,200 students and has been in the crosshairs for possible closing due to economics.)

Mansfield University has an annual economic impact of almost $12 million and is the fifth-largest employer in Tioga County – putting to work more than 400 individuals.

Nearly 88 percent of MU students are Pennsylvania residents. More than 47 percent of MU students commute, taking advantage of the university’s location to acquire an exceptional education while keeping costs manageable.

In recent years, all but one of the universities within Pa. State System of Higher Education have been experiencing declining enrollment. The system is in financial distress. Therefore, the PASSHE Board of Governors, of which I am a member, has engaged a consultant to advise us on improving the schools and increasing enrollment.

Mansfield has already proven itself to be open to change and aggressively works to make its courses and degree programs appealing. Many of MU’s programs hold national accreditation and prominence.

Through partnerships with Cornell and Penn, the school offers students in biology and chemistry the opportunity to conduct in-depth research in areas of high national interest. The geosciences department was the first in the world to use a 3D printer to map terrain. MU’s radiology and respiratory therapy programs are ranked among the best nationally. Meanwhile, the university’s Police Academy sends many students into the fields of law enforcement and the military.

Unlike many private colleges, MU offers education at an affordable price for most students, unlike many private colleges. Couple the lower cost with smaller classroom sizes and student-to-teacher ratios, and students who attend MU are getting a great educational experience they can afford.

I am eager to hear what recommendations are suggested to the board of governors to improve the operations of its university system. Just like Mansfield, the board is also looking for ways in which to operate and appeal to more students.

I will continue to be a passionate supporter of Mansfield University and all the outstanding schools that are a part of PASSHE. These schools are committed to offering high-quality, affordable educational opportunities to students and will do everything possible to remain institutions viable

To help insure success for MU, I encourage prospective students to consider Mansfield for their higher educational needs as a great investment that will lead to promising career opportunities.

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