By now, you’ve hopefully had the chance to digest the action taken by the State System Board of Governors June 16, authorizing Chancellor Dan Greenstein to begin reviewing an integration of Clarion and California universities’ online programs. I’m sure that you have questions and concerns about how that impacts our Clarion University.
One of the recommendations of Clarion's Financial Sustainability Task Force is to leverage our strength in online delivery and develop new partnerships and programs. The proposed integration aligns with that recommendation. Be clear that this is an avenue that's being explored; if data indicates that it will not benefit financial sustainability goals for both Clarion and the State System, it will not move forward.
Clarion is a leader in online education, and for that (and many other reasons), I am proud. I hope you are, too. As Chancellor Greenstein indicated in today's remarks to the Board of Governors, every year 50,000 Pennsylvania students choose out-of-state options for online education. Further, the number of working, nontraditional, nonresidential students who are seeking bachelor's degrees is a virtually untapped market.
This exploration will determine if Clarion and California University, which also has a history of success in online delivery, can harness our collective expertise to offer a high-quality, low-cost online undergraduate degree and degree completion program. By filling the void that exists in the commonwealth, we hope not only to keep students in the commonwealth, but also to attract more students from all over the country and world.
It's important to note that we are not talking about closing or merging. An integration would, in addition to our traditional on-campus programs, seek to stand up a low-cost, high-quality, online undergraduate degree and degree-completion program that is not currently available in Pennsylvania.
We will work together to provide Clarion University with a framework to grow new student markets and become financially stronger. It allows us to continue to provide the robust student life, cultural opportunities and intercollegiate athletic programs which make our Clarion special.
As always, I am so proud of our students and the work we do at Clarion to deliver to them the best educational experience we can, and I am ever grateful you selected me to serve as your president.