Higher Education in Pennsylvania: A Competitive Asset for Communities

December 1, 2005

Ranking near the top of the nation on many measures of higher education, Pennsylvania’s plethora of public and private colleges, universities, and vocational schools represent a major economic asset to the Commonwealth. Already there are many partnerships between these institutions and their host communities, which are mostly located in the state’s metropolitan and older jurisdictions. However, as a whole, Pennsylvania’s higher education assets remain underleveraged. This paper surveys Pennsylvania’s higher education landscape and its economic impact, proposing a number of policy approaches to boost town and gown collaboration—especially on community revitalization—for the mutual benefit of both institutions and communities and, ultimately, the state.