New PASSHE Chancellor elected

Category:  News
Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 at 5:40 PM
New PASSHE Chancellor elected by Anisa Venner-Johnston
Contributed Photo

On May 21, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) elected a new chancellor, Daniel Greenstein. The announcement of Greenstein’s election comes during the ongoing concerns related to tuition rates across PASSHE schools and falling enrollment rates.

As of 2012, Greenstein was director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), a nonprofit organization for postsecondary education. The Gates Foundation provides nearly $125 million to that cause. Before Greenstein’s work with BMGF, he worked as a senior administrator for the University of California. The new chancellor earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from the University of Pennsylvania, later earning his Ph.D. from Oxford University.

Earlier this week, Greenstein started his new job as chancellor with an expected salary of $380,000. Interim chancellor and former Clarion University President Karen M. Whitney remained in position until Greenstein’s official start date, Sept. 4.  

“The State System couldn’t have found a better individual to lead the way forward as we continue with our system redesign,” the interim chancellor said. “Greenstein is an energetic, innovative, nationally-respected leader. I look forward to working with him over the next several months during this period of transition,” Whitney continued.

As Chancellor, Greenstein will be working closely with the Board of Governors, as an executive officer, to suggest and create new policies for the education system. Ultimately, these decisions will have a direct effect on the 14 state schools, including Edinboro University.

Some of the most highly publicized changes at Edinboro has been in regard to acceptance and retention. As of 2011, Edinboro University had an acceptance rate of 99 percent. Of the students who applied, many did not return for a second year.

“According to research from the working groups (organizations created to examine the internal functionality of EU), the second-year attrition rates (percentage of students who did not return to Edinboro after their freshman year) from the years 2004 to 2014 have fluctuated, but typically have stayed around 30 percent. In fall 2004, it was the highest at 33.1 percent, while in fall 2008, it was the lowest at 24.8 percent,” The Spectator said in an article published earlier this year.

Those who do enroll in school – continuing to year two and beyond – face another hardship: student loan debt. According to Forbes Magazine, in 2016, the national average student loan debt was slightly over $37,000. As of June 2018, the national total of student loan debt is $1.52 trillion.

While some hope for what the future may bring, others, such as Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, are certain that Greenstein will shine a new light on PASSHE.

“Dr. Greenstein will focus the efforts of all involved in the State System on student success while creating a sustainable financial path forward for our 14 universities,” Wolf said. “Tens of thousands of students depend on the State System to get a quality and affordable education.”  

The next Board of Governors quarterly meeting is to be held Oct. 18, 2018.

Anisa Venner-Johnston can be reached at

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