PASSHE meets with NCHEMS in Harrisburg to discuss planned state system review

Published by adviser, Author: Daniel DiFabio - News Editor , Date: March 23, 2017

Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) met with the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) this week to start their review of the 14 universities in the state system.

Kenn Marshall, spokesperson for the state system, said the meetings will get the two groups on the same page before NCHEMS visits the campuses.

“This is going to be a top to bottom, thorough review, looking at everything and leaving no stone unturned,” Marshall said. “There’s an urgency here. It’s clear that we need to look at making some very significant change if we’re going to continue to be able to offer very high-quality affordable education in the future.”

Marshall said that NCHEMS will make recommendations by the end of the summer, and that some changes they suggest may be implemented right away, while other changes may require legislative action.

Marshall said that NCHEMS will visit the 14 universities in PASSHE over the next six weeks, with the state system hoping that the group is able to meet with students, faculty and staff while they’re still on campus.

PASSHE chose NCHEMS to assist in the review on Feb. 9 after looking over 8 total proposals from different groups.

“Those proposals were evaluated and NCHEMS came out on top,” Marshall said. “We negotiated a price and the cost was acceptable.”

Marshall said the cost was significantly below what was budgeted for, with PASSHE budgeted for $500,000 and the cost of NCHEMS costing between $350,000-$400,000.

“They have an excellent reputation nationally and they’ve worked with other states,” Marshall said. “They’ve done this before and they know what they’re doing. We’re very pleased to have a firm of their caliber working with us on this project.”

According to a PASSHE press release, NCHEMS has worked with other state systems with similar situations as the one in Pennsylvania, including systems in Colorado, Missouri, New Jersey, Oregon and Tennessee. The press release said that NCHEMS is a non-profit with a background in collecting and analyzing the data of universities, including enrollment management and financial planning.

Marshall said that NCHEMS will maintain communication with PASSHE as they conduct their review.

“We want them to do their work,” Marshall said. “They are the experts and we hired them to do this for us. We have to be willing to move forward with that (their recommendations) on our own and in coordination with the general assembly and government.”


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