QUESTIONS ABOUT UNIVERSITY INTEGRATION
PennWest California 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.
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.
Students can expect to see the benefits of these changes beginning in Fall 2022, provided we receive all required approvals.
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
Contingent upon approval of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (our institutional accreditor) – “Pennsylvania Western University” will become the accredited, degree-granting university that results from the integration California, Clarion and Edinboro Universities. Leveraging the continued distinctive identities of the three partner institutions that contribute to it, PennWest University will offer a range of benefits to its students and communities, notably in the number of programs, separate complement of athletic teams, as well as co-curricular and career preparation opportunities that will be available.
As the accredited entity, PennWest University will:
- Confer degrees upon students at all three historic campuses
- Employ faculty and staff at all campus locations
- Develop a single academic curriculum, assess student learning, and evaluate and improve institutional effectiveness
- Be the official repository of all student records
- Hold institutional accreditation and all special program accreditations
- Recruit and enroll students on all of its campuses through a single admissions process
- Package student financial aid through a single OPEID number and three unique campus identifiers, allowing students to select a home campus of their choosing.
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.
Yes. In fact, it has never been a better time to be a student at PennWest California. 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.
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.
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.
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 PennWest California, 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 PennWest California already has undertaken with great success.
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.
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. Most students currently take at least one online course per semester, so this is consistent with what most students are experiencing now.
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
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.
The integrated university is being designed to minimize the financial burden on students and their families while supporting the financial sustainability of our campuses.
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.
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 academic program and campus location they prefer.
Students enrolled at the new integrated university will have access to a broad array of undergraduate and graduate programs and courses of study. Faculty and staff at PennWest California and its partner campuses are reviewing all academic programs and consolidating them. Driven by student demand, 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.
We are pursuing a path with the NCAA that allows us to retain and continue our current complement of intercollegiate sports and existing sports teams.
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.
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.
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.
Potential employment impacts do exist. However, while universities work to better align their costs with revenue, we recognize it is not just about balancing budgets but also about affordability and accessibility for students. We remain committed to providing affordable, career-relevant, high-quality educational opportunities for students on every PennWest campus.
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.
As implementation plans are developed, PennWest California and the State System are engaging with stakeholders to keep them informed and help to inform our decisions. The plan development process is broadly consultative and transparent.
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.
You’ll still be able to complete the version of your degree program in which you are currently enrolled. A plan of study will be developed for you to ensure you meet degree requirements and stay on track for graduation.
You will still be able to complete the version of your degree program in which you are currently enrolled, if you wish to do so. You may also change to the new concentration version of the program and carry forward all of your completed credits.
You will have the option of completing the degree you are currently enrolled in, including the degree name and its course requirements. Or you may change to the new degree title and move all of your earned credits forward toward that degree. As the requirements for the new versions of the degrees are finalized, your advisor will have information explaining how the options will work for your interests and circumstances.
You will NOT have to move to another campus. While campus locations will be shared in the spring, all currently enrolled students will be able to complete their degrees on the campus where they are currently enrolled.