Why are colleges like hermit crabs?
Because sometimes they can just switch homes.
Penn State Lehigh Valley will be leaving its Fogelsville campus to move into the imminently defunct Lehigh Valley College campus. The move has not been approved by the old wise men trustees yet– they’ll be voting at their March 20 meeting.
Veblen over at Left of Centre thinks that unless the campus is a gift, it’s a bad move. He claims that the data Penn State used to substantiate the decision is invalid.
The University says that the population of the Lehigh Valley is projected to increase 22% by 2030 and the number of high school graduates in the region served by Penn State Lehigh Valley will increase 16.5% in the period between 2004 and 2016. This information was presented in last week’s announcement of the move.
The projection of a 22% growth in population by 2030 made in the summer of 2007 by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission is an upward correction to an 2002 projection which underestimated the forecast growth in 2005. The reason that the 2002 projection missed its mark is very likely that it did not anticipate the housing bubble in the Lehigh Valley which was driven by migration from nearby higher cost of living areas. That bubble has now burst. Hence there is no reason to place any faith in this prediction.
We’re not convinced it’s a bad move. Precisely because the bubble has now burst, this is the time for real estate investments. The economic benefit might not be as clear right now as it is in the case of the James Building, but I suspect in the long term it could be significantly greater.