When They Are Ready, We Are Ready

In this day of the rising cost of college tuition, it is refreshing to see a few universities in our area freeze tuition this year—including IUP. Our students will not experience a tuition hike. Making sure that the children of the next generation can obtain a degree is worth for the well-being of our society, as well as for them, personally.

You will find many sources that verify that obtaining a bachelor’s degree is worth the investment. While credentials of other kinds are useful, the bachelor’s degree is still the best way to strengthen lifetime earnings and employment potential.

Being agile and adapting to the needs of young people who want to obtain that education is something universities across the country are striving to do, and IUP is no exception. For the traditional-age student, I see the two scenarios.

  1. You are a graduating high school senior who is academically prepared and eager to begin college. IUP will support and challenge you, even if you don’t know what major course of study to choose. The University College can help you explore options. (Refer to IUP Magazine for details or my post on December 19.)
  2. You want a bachelor’s degree, but academically, you aren’t ready. We at IUP think it’s unethical to admit you and ask you to assume debt for a program you might not complete. Nonetheless, we want you to persevere and suggest you start with a lower-cost option, like community college or trade school first. Or, grow with a job or consider military service before enrolling.

For prospective students who fall into the second category, IUP takes advantage of an array of agreements with community colleges. Our agreement with Westmoreland County Community College, for example, enables qualifying students to easily glide into a bachelor’s degree program. If a student comes to us before they earn an associate degree, WCCC will accept IUP credits in a reverse agreement to award the student an associate degree, a valuable credential.  We also respond to a demand for special niche offerings through our Municipal Police Academy and our Culinary Academy and Clinical Medical Assistant program in Punxsutawney. After all, public universities are obligated to fulfill the needs of the regions we serve.

As we continue to fine tune our admissions standards and adapt to the decreasing number of high school graduates, we want our prospective students and their parents to know that when students are ready to come to IUP, we will be there, ready for them.

Michael Driscoll

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  1. The partnership with WCCC is great, but the population center of the state is southeastern Pennsylvania. IUP needs to have similar partnerships with as many community colleges as possible, particularly with Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware County Community Colleges.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read President Driscoll’s post and to leave a comment. I’ve passed along your message. We appreciate your feedback.

    • We agree and have been in discussion with several community colleges outside of western Pennsylvania. I’ll be glad to report on that progress as soon as we have some news to share. Thanks for checking in.

  2. Kudos to IUP’s focus on collaborative efforts and policies
    to increase access to a 4 year degree. Such efforts are
    mutually beneficial to the populations you serve as well as
    to IUP. Impressively, IUP continues to model the essence of a top-tier public regional university.

  3. Also, drawing good students from MD through lowered out-of-state tuition would benefit IUP and students in MD (where I have lived since graduating from IUP).

    Overcoming IUP’s image as a party school is important. I was once t an interview when a person on the panel said he had supervised IUP student teachers in the 1990s and their party attitude made him question the quality of the school. It was not a high point of the interview!

    I came from rural PA, and IUP helped change my life. Good,solid education that gave me a rewarding life and work. I went there because we couldn’t afford much else.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read President Driscoll’s post and to share your input. I’ll pass along your message.

    • The party school image has, admittedly, been an issue. However, we are working to combat what we believe is a harsh label. In fact, we’re quite proud of our new freshman class, which has, at this point, a 3.3 average high school GPA. You’ll see in the coming weeks a refreshed communications plan that will assist us in drawing students from Maryland and other surrounding states. In fact, it is based on research results from students and alumni who, like you, say they received a good, solid education that led to a rewarding life. We also are hoping that our leadership in Harrisburg will grant us the ability to customize our tuition. I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.

  4. I graduated from IUP in 1968, the first in my family to graduate from college. I worked two jobs… in the Sutton and then the Foster Dining Hall, operating the dish washing machine. Both proposed programs are positive steps forward. I credit IUP for giving me an opportunity that many first generation immigrants of my generation often did not have. For this reason the CC “bridge” program and the hold on tuition increases are especially meaningful..

  5. I graduated from IUP in 1970 and went on to a successful career as a teacher, assistant principal, and high school principal. President Driscoll is definitely on the right track with these comments. Not every high school senior is ready to tackle a four-year degree program. Nor should everyone go straight to a four-year school. Our state community colleges offer an inexpensive but challenging way to begin a college career. We have to continue to forge agreements between the community colleges and our state schools without placing such limited geographical boundaries on the students.
    Keep up the good work!

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