Penn State Mont Alto to offer four-year degrees

January 16, 1997


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

MONT ALTO, Pa. - Penn State Mont Alto plans to offer four-year college degrees in two selected programs within the next two academic years.

Penn State officials announced Wednesday that state Secretary of Education Eugene Hickock approved the university's comprehensive plan to redesign its commonwealth campuses, including Mont Alto. The approved plan officially designates 14 of Penn State's 17 commonwealth campuses as branches authorized to offer bachelor's degrees.

"We're not just an administrative unit now. We're going from a Commonwealth Educational System to a Commonwealth College," said William Curley, acting campus executive officer at Mont Alto.


Planned four-year bachelor's degrees at Mont Alto include a four-year occupational therapy degree and a bachelor's degree in human development and family studies. Both bachelor's degrees will compliment existing Mont Alto associate degree programs in the same majors, Curley said. There is a bachelor's degree program in place in nursing.

Bachelor's degrees will be offered in those two subjects based on a study of enrollment trends, current student demographics, and employment projections in the state that involved faculty, students, advisory committees, legislators and community leaders. Market research done around the Mont Alto area and a student survey overwhelmingly focused in the allied health area, Curley said.

"There's a growing number of organizations in this community looking for more qualified, more professionally-trained people in this field," he said.

Additional faculty will be hired when the programs are in place. It will also give current faculty the opportunity to teach at a higher level, Curley said. Campus officials expect a slight increase in student enrollment with the addition of the four-year degree courses. Currently, 1,200 students are enrolled at the Mont Alto campus, Curley said.

"This will provide a whole lot more opportunity to students in some areas we don't service now," Curley said.

Once these four-year programs are up and running, Curley said the university may look into offering bachelor's degrees in other majors.

Associate degrees are offered in business administration; forest technology; human development and family studies; letters, arts and sciences; nursing; occupational therapy; and physical therapy assistance.

Penn State Mont Alto sits on 91 acres of what was once the Pennsylvania State Forest School, established in 1903. The campus is located between Chambersburg and Waynesboro in Franklin County, about a mile from the square in Mont Alto.

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