Some college applicants have interest in just one university belonging to the State System of Higher Education.
Others want to apply to multiple campuses.
Still others do not even know the 14 individual state-owned universities that carry Pennsylvania's name are part of the same system.
It doesn't matter. All can benefit from a new online tool officially unveiled Friday that is intended to make it easier to apply to one, a few or all 14 members of the system, officials said.
The State System's Multi-University Electronic Admissions Application, or MUEAA, can be accessed by either going to the State System's website at www.passhe.edu or by going to the sites of any member university.
Once there, students can ponder academic pursuits by clicking on "What Should I Study?" Clicking "Start Now" begins the application process, officials said.
Potential students go to their initial choice school, fill out an application and then do so with their next choice if desired, saving time because personal and educational information they input to the first application appears on the second form, too, officials said.
The system was rolled out quietly in August and to date has generated about 50,000 applications finished or in progress. The potential for larger numbers of applicants could help the system of 112,500 students reverse recent enrollment losses.
State System chancellor Frank Brogan introduced the new tool during remarks Friday to a gathering of high school guidance counselors at Mansfield University in the north central part of the state.
"As guidance counselors, I don't have to tell you that today's 15- to 18-year-olds are very sophisticated consumers of information and products, including what they expect in the application process for college," Mr. Brogan said in remarks prepared for the State System's Fall Counselor Information Day. "Our research shows us that speed and ease of use are at the top of the list of their must-haves. Call it the 'one-click' rule."
Bill Schackner: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1977 and on Twitter: @BschacknerPG. First Published November 8, 2013 10:14 AM