QUESTIONS ABOUT UNIVERSITY INTEGRATION


Cal U will continue to update this page as new questions arise about California’s integration with Clarion and Edinboro.

You can learn more at the State System of Higher Education’s University Integrations FAQ.

Why is Cal U being integrated with Clarion and Edinboro?


The State System’s mission is to provide affordable, high-quality public higher education across the Commonwealth, and this approach is designed to bolster that mission. At a time when universities across the country are financially challenged, it’s incumbent upon the State System to creatively ensure that its institutions are open, vibrant and centered on student success. The goals of an integrations approach are to maintain or expand high-quality educational opportunities for students across the state, position institutions for growth, and meet regional economic and workforce needs.

When will integration go into effect?


Students can expect to see the benefits of these changes beginning in Fall 2022, provided we receive all required approvals. 

What will the new university be called?

 

The integrated institution will be known as Pennsylvania Western University*, or PennWest, for short. Our campus will keep its location name, and PennWest California will still be known for its beautiful campus, outstanding academic programs and numerous student activities.

The PennWest name was selected through a months-long process that included workshops and focus groups with students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. Research confirmed that the name will perform well online, where most students begin their college search, and market testing verified its appeal to future students and their families.

The Board of Governors for Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education affirmed the name Oct. 14, 2021.

* Pending approval by the Middles States Commission for Higher Education

I’m a current student. Will I be able to finish my degree at California?


Yes. As a current student, you will be able to complete the program in which you’re currently enrolled. Learn more about curriculum changes and what they mean for students


I’m a prospective student. Will I be able to start and finish the degree I’m interested in at California?


Yes. In fact, it has never been a better time to be a student at Cal U. You will be able to finish your program of study and earn your degree at California. You also will have access to many new opportunities, experiences, and degree programs that will arise from university integrations. Learn more about curriculum changes and what they mean for students.

I'm a transfer student who's considering coming to Cal U. If I transfer, will my credits be accepted by the new integrated university?


Yes. We will continue to keep the transfer process simple and maximize the credits you can transfer to the integrated university. As a transfer student, you will be able to complete your declared major at California and earn your degree.

Will students have to move between campuses?


Current students will be able to complete their declared major on the campus where whey started. Some courses may be delivered through flexible delivery formats, virtually or by faculty located on another campus. You will not be required to travel between campuses, although you may choose to do so.   

Future students will find that an integrated university with multiple campus locations, including a virtual campus, offers an expanded selection of academic programs, courses and faculty expertise, and potential access to more internships and experiential learning opportunities. This broad selection of academic programs and opportunities creates pathways for you to start anywhere in the Western Pennsylvania region and finish both your undergraduate and graduate degrees at any of our three campus locations, online, or through a combination of virtual and in-person classes at the campus of your choice.

This integration also is intended to expand academic support, so you’ll have greater opportunities for academic success. No matter which campus you choose, we are committed to providing you with a premier education at an affordable price.   

Will all of my classes be online because of integration?


Not unless you choose to enroll in a fully online program. If you prefer a traditional college experience, you will have that opportunity.

As has always been true, you can expect a residential (or commuter) campus experience at Cal U, with courses delivered on campus and with the close personal interaction with your professors that California is known for. Integration will create many new opportunities to access courses, majors, minors, degrees and stackable credentials. Some courses and programs may be conducted remotely or through hybrid modalities across the identified campuses. This is a model that Cal U already has undertaken with great success.

What do you mean by online learning?


Online or distance learning can take several forms.

  • Synchronous delivery uses tools such as Zoom or other web conferencing tools to let students participate in a class in real time from a remote location. For example, a student at one campus might use Zoom to join a class taught by a professor on another campus. This delivery mode is sometimes called “remote learning.”
  • Asynchronous delivery allows students to complete coursework on their own schedule, from any location. In addition to completing required readings and other assignments, students in courses delivered asynchronously may utilize instructional videos, discussion boards and other tools to engage with the professor and classmates. This delivery mode is sometimes called “fully online.”

Hybrid programs typically require students to take a mix of in-person and online/remote learning courses as they progress toward their degree.

In-person programs, which can be completed entirely on campus, may include some remote or fully online course options to provide more flexibility for students as they plan their schedule. Currently, a majority of students taking in-person programs choose to take at least one online course per semester.

What percentage of courses should I expect to take online if my major is not located at my home campus?
 

Although this may vary by major or campus, we expect that at least 75% of your courses will be delivered in person, on your home campus.  The majority of students currently take at least one online course per semester, so this is consistent with what most students are experiencing now.

How will the curriculum be developed and implemented?
 

University administrators, integrations leaders and faculty will work together to develop curriculum and implement it over the course of three years. This is one of the most important aspects of the integration work, and every effort will be made to ensure we produce the best possible product for our students and communities. Learn more about curriculum changes and what they mean for students

Will my financial aid and scholarship package carry forward to the integrated university?


Yes, your financial aid and scholarship commitments will carry over. As always, privately funded scholarships will be awarded disbursed based on the donor’s criteria. 

Will the cost of attendance change?


The integrated university is being designed to reduce the financial burden on students and their families while supporting the financial sustainability of our campuses. 

If I wish to apply to more than one location, will I be able to fill out one application and then indicate my campus preference(s)?


Yes, we expect to have a single application process for students across the integrated university as part of a seamless admissions process for students enrolling in Fall 2022.

Will I be enrolled at the new integrated university? Or at California?


For now, you will enroll at the campus you choose – California, Clarion or Edinboro. Once the integrated university is formally approved, incoming students will enroll in the new integrated university, then choose the courses and campus location they prefer. 

Will all majors and minors continue to be offered?


Students enrolled at the new integrated university will have access to an even greater list of undergraduate and graduate programs and courses of study. Faculty and staff at Cal U and its partner campuses are reviewing all academic programs and consolidating them. The goal is to provide a single portfolio of excellent, career-relevant academic programs to meet your needs and the needs of your future employers.  

Current students who have declared a major will be able to complete a degree within that major.

What will happen to Cal U’s athletics program?


We are pursuing a path with the NCAA that allows us to continue our current complement of intercollegiate sports at Cal U and our partner campuses. For student-athletes currently being recruited, this path would provide the ability to retain our existing sports teams.

Will students have a voice in the integration effort?


Yes. The integration process is designed to include student input. Students have broad representation as part of the System-level advisory group, regional student advisory groups and through individual working group engagement.

Will academic standards change because of integration?


No. You still must earn a cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 or higher to be considered in Good Academic Standing. Some accredited programs may continue to require a higher cumulative and/or major GPA to be admitted or to continue in the major.
 

Will there still be student clubs and organizations at Cal U?


Yes! There will still be many opportunities to engage in student government and other campus activities and to grow your leadership skills through these organizations, no matter which campus you choose.  

Will there be administrative, faculty and/or staff reductions as a result of integration?


The State System
is at the beginning of what will be a lengthy review, consultation and planning process, with an estimated time of more than a year from review to final proposal. It would be inappropriate to speculate on the potential employment impacts of any potential multi-university integration, but the State System remains committed to an open, transparent and consultative process from start to finish.

What is the process for integration?


The process for integrating State System universities is defined by law in Act 50. It is transparent, consultative, analytical and intended to seek solutions, not implement solutions that have been predetermined. The process is conducted in partnership with the General Assembly through quarterly check-ins with House and Senate Education and Appropriations Committees.

When will a plan be available?


As an implementation plan is developed, Cal U and the State System will engage with stakeholders throughout the process to keep them informed and help to inform our decisions. The plan development process will be broadly consultative and transparent. This is the beginning of a lengthy process and there is no predetermined plan or outcome. Our charge is to work together with our sister institutions to develop a plan that follows the State System’s vision for university integrations.

Our top priority is to keep students at the center of this process and to maintain access and affordability while meeting local workforce needs, leveraging our combined strengths, and improving our financial condition.