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Times are tough, and many of the challenges we face are beyond our control; however, the way we respond to them is not. We have chosen to take specific actions to align available resources to areas where we can attain growth, while continuing to serve our students, our community and the commonwealth.

We have been a leader of the PASSHE schools in taking direct measures involving some painful decisions to align academic resources where the market is strongest for us. Universities across the country, as well as our state system, are facing these same challenges. For Clarion, these include:

  • State funding that has been cut from $26.3 million in fiscal year 2010 to $20.2 million in fiscal year 2014.

  • Student headcount (undergrad and graduate) that has gone from 7,315 in fall 2010 to 6,080 in fall 2014.

  • Expenses across the university that continue to grow.

  • The decline in high school-aged students in our region.

In the midst of our challenges there is positive news:

  • We are now accepting applications for a new bachelor's degree in nursing and our first doctorate a doctor of nursing practice.

  • Through January, the number of alumni donors is up seven percent from last year, and alumni giving has increased five percent.

  • In fall 2014, more than 75 percent of the previous year's freshmen returned for their sophomore years, an increase of five percentage points (45 students) over last year.

  • This academic year, more than 91 percent of current freshmen re-enrolled from fall to spring, an increase of three percentage points over last year.

  • A record 166 Clarion University student athletes, 47 percent of all athletes, were honored as scholar-athletes in 2014.

We are also making improvements, utilizing our share of state funding in our living and learning environment to make us more attractive to students for generations to come. Projects include:

  • Becht Hall renovation:

    • Will house the new Center for Student Success, with services including admissions, student financial services, registrar, residence life, health and counseling center, learning technology center, career development center, judicial affairs and international programs.

    • It is expected to open fall 2015.

  • Tippin athletics complex renovation:

    • Will update 45-year-old Tippin gymnasium to become a teaching, athletic and convocation complex.

    • Will be completed in late 2016 or early 2017.

  • New recreation pool:

    • Will include lap lanes and other recreational amenities.

    • A large deck will accommodate hundreds of people for social events.

  • Suites II construction:

    • Will replace the 43-year-old Wilkinson and Nair traditional residence halls.

    • Will provide housing for 728 students in 373 suites.

    • Will be funded entirely by housing fees of students who will live in the suites.

    • Will be developed, financed and constructed by Clarion University Foundation, Inc.

    • Will open fall 2015.

We are facing many challenges; however, we are facing them head-on and will continue our tradition of serving the students and communities of Pennsylvania and beyond.

3/6/2014 9:22 AM

The Clarion tradition continues