Council of Trustees Handbook 717-783-1540 Higher Education: Primer March 25, 2022 - Page 5 In response to some of the challenges in creating new community colleges and access gaps, the General Assembly passed legislation in 2014 to establish a “rural regional college” similar to a community college but without the requirement for local sponsor support. This new institution, the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College, began operations in 2017, combining open enrollment with a remote delivery model. The college has no main campus, and courses are simulcast to different sites across a nine-county region in northwestern Pennsylvania. Currently, the college offers six associate’s degrees, two certificate programs, and sixteen noncredit workforce development programs. Community education councils are another effort to try to help fill the regional gaps of full community colleges in certain parts of the state. CECs are non-profit organizations that act as facilitators and brokers of employerdriven educational programs, working to help get needed educational programs to students in the area in partnership with other colleges and universities. Community education councils receive state support through a specific appropriation to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which distributes the grants to the councils. Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster is a two-year technical college owned by the commonwealth. Originally founded in 1905 to serve orphans, the college now provides associate’s degrees in 23 high-skill technical education programs and 4 certificate programs to help meet workforce needs with special emphasis on serving economically and socially disadvantaged students. Thaddeus Stevens College is funded as part of the General Appropriations Act each year. State-Related Universities Pennsylvania has four universities that, while not owned by the commonwealth, have a special status conferred by law. These “state-related” universities receive direct appropriations and, in turn, offer in-state tuition rates for Pennsylvania students. Three of the state-related universities, Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Temple University, are major research universities. The fourth, Lincoln University, is a historically Black university in Chester County and is the oldest degree-granting historically Black institution of higher education in the United States. The state-related universities operate branch campuses in different areas of the commonwealth. Penn State, in particular, has a large network of campuses statewide. While many students study at a branch campus and transfer to the main campus to complete their studies, full four-year programs are also offered at some locations.