WSC to WSU

Posted on October 26, 2010 by

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Courtesy of Worcester.edu

By Kelly Harder

Managing Editor

On July 28, Governor Deval Patrick signed legislation which upgraded Massachusetts state colleges to university status, according to the Worcester State website.  Worcester State College officially became Worcester State University on October 26.  What exactly does this mean for students?

To answer this question, the college created a frequently-asked-questions page on their website about the name change.  According to this link, the most prominent changes are simply that the school has a different name and signage.  Graduating from a university might make graduates more marketable, possibly granting them more opportunities when compared to graduates from colleges.

“I like being able to say university instead of college,” said Meghan Hazelton, a senior.   “I am excited about it.”
Junior Brian Strand thinks the name change “sounds better.”

Financial aid will still uphold the same standards and procedures for the application process, as well as in the distribution of financial packages to students.  Students can also expect that their tuition and fees will not increase because of the status change.  The website states, “We are committed to maintaining our distinction as the most affordable path to a four-year degree.”

The only costs associated with the official name change of Worcester State include signs and stationery.
Class sizes are anticipated to remain small, where students can still enjoy the sense of community in the classroom they currently experience.  The responsibilities of faculty and staff are expected to stay the same.  Under this legislation, no new degrees or programs will be implemented.  Any new future programs will need to be approved by the Department and Board of Higher Education, and they must follow all policies and procedures that are already in place.  The new law does not authorize Worcester State to offer doctorate degrees.  Any new undergraduate or graduate degree programs would still have to follow certain measures before being implemented, just as before the legislation was signed.

About the new status, administration employees said they “hope the creation of a state university system creates in our students and communities a…sense of pride in the excellence of Worcester State University.”

Prospective students will experience the same application process as current students did in the past.  Worcester State has become a competitive school for potential applicants, but this recent change should not be a contributing factor in the admissions process.  Transfer students can anticipate the same procedures as past transfers.

As a university, the athletics department will also stay within their division; university status does not cause the athletic teams to be included in the Division I league.

As a result of becoming Worcester State University, the institution will benefit by now being able to compete for private foundation and federal funding.  Not only will the campus be able to compete for more funding, but it will also be able to attract faculty from a wider context at a national level.  While Worcester State’s status change has not affected the University in a dramatic way, it should create more opportunities for students for generations to come.

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