Pennsylvania state colleges expanding access in center city

Pennsylvania’s state higher education system has expanded access to its programs to Philadelphia residents with the opening of a renovated site in center city where several of its universities are offering classes, officials said this week.

 The “Multi-University Center,” based on the third floor of the Mellon Independence Center at 701 Market St. is providing classes toward both bachelor’s degrees and graduate degrees.

 Mayor Nutter, U.S. Reps. Chaka Fattah and Allyson Schwartz and Rob Wonderling, president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, are among the dignitaries who will be on hand to offer remarks at the official opening of the center at 10 a.m. on Monday.

 Cheyney University had been offering classes at this location for years. East Stroudsburg began to offer classes two years ago, and West Chester in January after the renovations were completed. Collectively, they offer 11 programs.

 Millersville will begin offering programs in the fall, officials said. More of the 14 state universities that are part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education are expected to follow, officials said.

 Offerings include degree-completion programs for adults and graduate programs “offered in flexible formats and times convenient for adult students,” the announcement said.

 As of November 2011, Philadelphia had about 80,000 residents between 25 and 45 who have more than one year of college credit but have yet to earn their degree.

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