New regional college seeks to make convenience of education top priority


In the days of rising college tuition for universities across the county, one facility with a modern approach is celebrating a milestone. 

The Northern Pennsylvania Regional College (NPRC) based in Warren is built on a foundation of providing a quality education, without the expense and restrictions of a traditional university.  A pivotal point for the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College.

State officials, education leaders and community members gather for the inauguration of the school’s first president.  NPRC is a non-traditional option for earning a two-year degree, serving nine counties in the commonwealth, including Erie, Crawford, and Venango.

Mary Joe White, Board of Trustees Chairman, says, "The whole idea is to build this around the student. We don’t own any buildings. We don’t have any campus. That’s not what these students are interested in. They want the education. They don’t need the amenities.”

But, it’s not a community college and it’s not an online school either.  Students learn through walks called 'instructional television'.

Joseph Nairn, Founding President of NPRC, tells us, "Students can see and speak with and interact with their instructors live and in real time and they have the discipline of meeting a regular class, but they don’t have to travel 200 miles to another college.” 

The founding president says the school not only provides new opportunities but it also addresses a need unique to this region. “When the state wrote the strategic plan from community college years and years ago, there was an intention to have 28 spread about around the state. It never happened here north of 80.”

NPRC is meant to be an alternative that compliments, not competes, with existing institutions.

Senator Joe Scarnati says, “Here, this model takes employers. We have a local board of trustees. It models the curriculum for those that need employment and for those that need to hire people.”

For the future of the school officials with the college say they just see it growing and giving more students a chance at success. 

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