The roots of historically Black Cheyney University of Pennsylvania go back to 1837 but it did not grant its first bachelor’s degrees until 1932. It joined the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education as a charter member in 1983.
In recent years, the university has experienced financial difficulties due to a drop in enrollments. Since 2010, the 14 campuses of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education have seen a 12 percent drop in enrollments. At Cheyney, the drop has been much greater. Enrollments were down 53 percent from 2010 to 2016. The state has issued emergency lines of credit to the university in order to ensure its continued operation.
In February a task force was formed to make recommendations on how to move forward. Recently, the task force issued its report and sent its recommendations to the board of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
The task force said that Cheyney University should remain as an independent, four-year institution within the state system. But it said that workforce reductions would have to be made, the campuses may need to be downsized, and that the university may have to consider eliminating intercollegiate sports. The task force said that Cheyney may have to narrow its focus and build on its success with the Keystone Honors Academy that serves high-achieving students in a creative learning community.