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The Problem and the Plan

The Problem

Masked students in a classroom
  • IUP’s projected budget shortfall for 2020–21 is $16 million.
  • If shortfalls continue at that level, IUP reserves will be depleted in four years.


Declining enrollment is a top contributor to the financial challenges. Current enrollment is below the 1970 mark:

  • 2020–21: 10,067
  • 2010–11: 15,126*
  • 2000–2001: 13,410
  • 1990–91: 14,398
  • 1980–81: 12,278
  • 1970–71: 10,347

*IUP’s highest enrollment was 15,379 in 2012–13.

Factors contributing to enrollment decline:

  • Fewer high school graduates in IUP’s traditional markets
  • Fewer international students
  • Slow progress in increasing student retention and persistence

Pennsylvania Public High School Graduates

  • June 2019: 125,515
  • June 2010: 131,343

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Education

These figures show a 4.44 percent decrease in graduates. In addition, experts predict another drop of almost 7 percent between 2025 and 2031.

International Students

This population has dropped steadily at IUP in recent years:

  • 2020–21: 397 (4.05% of total enrollment)
  • 2019–20: 561 (5.42%)
  • 2018–19: 711 (6.28%)
  • 2017–18: 809 (6.57%)
  • 2016–17: 923 (7.18%)
  • 2015–16: 969 (7.03%)

Second-Year Retention Rates

This is the percentage of IUP students who continue their studies into their second year. Efforts to improve the rate have made slow progress.

  • 2019–20: 72.2%
  • 2018–19: 72.3%
  • 2017–18: 70.5%
  • 2016–17: 71.4%

Other Financial Factors

COVID-19 Pandemic

  • In April 2020, IUP refunded students more than $10 million in housing, dining, and other fees after the move to remote instruction.
  • In September 2020, IUP invested $3 million in one-time grants for all enrolled students.

State Appropriations

They have not kept pace with the rising cost of educating students. Percent of IUP’s budget from state appropriations:

  • 2020–21: 28%
  • 1983–84: 63%
Masked students in a classroom

The Plan

IUP NextGen involves the restructuring of academic colleges and programs as follows:

Adopting Areas of Focus

IUP will invest more in these five areas, selected based on student and employer demand and IUP’s assessed strengths:

  • Science, math, computer science, pre-engineering, and engineering
  • Allied health disciplines
  • Behavioral health
  • Business
  • Proactive cross-disciplinary and multi-thematic areas

Note: IUP will continue to provide a strong general education core and a breadth of academic majors including education, the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Reorganizing Colleges

The number of academic colleges will be reduced from six to five. Academic departments within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences will be distributed broadly, including into a new college, not yet named, that will house the creative arts, humanities, and design.

While these changes will create operating efficiencies, they are also expected to provide more opportunities for collaboration, innovation, and interdisciplinary student experiences.

Reducing Programs

Following a yearlong review of its academic programs, IUP will reduce the number of programs it offers.

Decisions about which programs were eliminated or changed were based on a number of factors, including enrollment and finances, competition among other schools, job opportunities, student outcomes, demonstrated innovation, and relevance to IUP’s mission and strategic direction.

An updated list of program changes, including the shifting of programs among colleges, is at IUP.edu/RestructuringInfo.

Reducing the Workforce

While IUP’s enrollment has fallen by about a third, the size of the workforce has not followed.

Declines from 2012–13 to 2018–19:

  • Enrollment: down 26%
  • Employee headcount: down 6.3%

Reductions in full-time equivalent* (FTE) positions since July 1, 2019, through restructuring and attrition (rounded):

  • Faculty: 69
  • Non-faculty: 117

*an employee’s scheduled hours divided by the number of hours in a full-time work week

Expected future reductions in FTE positions (rounded):

  • Faculty: 128 (by the beginning of 2021–22 academic year)
  • Non-faculty: 117 (by the end of 2021–22 fiscal year)

In October and December 2020, 82 faculty members received notice of possible retrenchment in June 2021.

  • The process for programmatic and retrenchment decisions is specified in the collective bargaining agreement between the State System and the faculty union, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties. Seniority and unique qualifications to teach courses are among the considerations.
  • IUP’s projected budget shortfall of $16 million for 2020–21 already factors in these faculty retrenchments.

More details about plans to secure IUP’s future are at IUP.edu/RestructuringInfo.