Our Story


Our Story

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The roots of the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College began with a group of four highly motivated and engaged professionals working with postsecondary education in Northern Pennsylvania. Dr. Richard McDowell, Dr. Fran Grandinetti, Ms. Deborah Pontzer, and Ms. Helene Nawrocki, saw the need for accessible and affordable postsecondary options for young people and adults in the more rural areas of northern Pennsylvania. Senator Joseph Scarnati saw the value of these efforts and supported a feasibility study of postsecondary education needs in this region.

NPRC's History

Following the study in 2009, Senator Scarnati aided in establishing the Educational Consortium of the Upper Allegheny (ECUA) to find a process through which smaller communities can be provided postsecondary education in an effective and efficient manner without pulling students away from their communities. The ECUA hired Duane Vicini, former Forest County Schools superintendent, to lead the project with a goal of bringing open admission, low-cost, high-quality post-secondary education to communities that have never been served by these opportunities. Moving forward, this project involved identifying and connecting with higher education partners that could provide classes using a media-based, real-time education model with an affordable tuition rate.

Additional feasibility studies were performed in 2011 by the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee – “The Need for Public Community College Programs in Rural Pennsylvania” – and one in 2013 by the Rural Community College Alliance (RCCA) – “Providing Educational Opportunity – The Viability of a Regional Community College in the Upper Allegheny Region.” Both studies revealed similar themes and identified common needs. The finding – there exists a need for affordable, accessible technical and associate degree programs in northwestern Pennsylvania and they are critical to the region’s economic recovery.

In the summer of 2013, PA Senate Bill 1000 was introduced to address the long-term goal of the ECUA and provide a permanent solution to the above finding. A companion House Bill was proposed in spring of 2014. Operating as the Rural Regional College of Northern Pennsylvania, the legislation was enacted in 2014 and incorporated into the PA Public School Code as Article XIX-G in July 2016. A College Plan was written and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the college was officially established in May 2017.

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Since, the name of the college has been updated to the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College and following a few semesters of engagement with a community college, the ECUA released a request for proposals seeking a new partner. After reviewing submitted proposals, Gannon University was selected and established the initial portfolio of degree programs for the College. A few years later, a College Plan was approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the college, operating as the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College, was established in May 2017. NPRC began operating as an independent institution in January 2020. NPRC is authorized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to grant degrees and certificates, and is proudly pursuing institutional accreditation.

Through NPRC, students can enjoy a live classroom atmosphere at an affordable price. Contact a Student Success Specialist today for more information regarding Admissions and Enrollment.

See What Our Students Have to Say

Group 35

Growing up in rural Potter County, Pennsylvania meant if I wanted good educational and employment opportunities, I would have to move. When NPRC started offering classes less than 30 minutes from my home (almost an hour closer than the next closest college), my future was no longer dependent on living in a more urban area. I received a quality education without spending the tens of thousands of dollars on room and board a traditional school would have required. And now, I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of the team making this story possible for so many other people in rural Pennsylvania. NPRC’s mission is a necessary one, helping serve a part of the population that has lacked affordable and quality higher education for decades. This school helped me avoid debt, find my path in life, and now, I have a job I love and opportunities I never expected.

- Brian, NPRC Graduate

While attending NPRC, I am enrolled in 16 credits and working toward a degree in business administration. This switch is already positively benefitting me as a student. I have been keeping up with classes and shifting out of bad habits that may hinder my success. As someone who is diagnosed with anxiety and ADHD, it sometimes gets hard to effectively communicate. However, NPRC continues to provide opportunities to not only challenge myself, but to help me grow as a student, and more importantly, as a person. NPRC was my second chance. My second chance to help me build myself better, and I feel like my future is already better than what it was before NPRC.

-Noah, Business Administration Student

My time at Northern Pennsylvania Regional College has been a great experience even through the COVID-19 pandemic. Never did I imagine doing a year of college in my own home and still be able to be on the Dean’s List and be extremely proud. I am 39 years of age, and it has taken me this long to attempt college. I have to say that starting college at this age was hard. However, everyone at NPRC has made it easy for me to understand what it means to be studious. You can feel the care that is given to you through the staff at NPRC. The instructors are always willing to help and they will always answer the questions that we have. This college is a great way to get started on your new path through life. There are so many options to pick from if you are undecided.

-Claudia, NPRC Graduate

I started with NPRC right after graduating high school in 2018. I was not sure what I wanted to do career-wise, but the criminal justice field had always piqued my interest. Before finishing my two-year degree with NPRC, I decided to transfer to a four-year university to further my education in both sociology and criminal justice. Without the affordability of NPRC and their knowledgeable staff, I would never have dreamed of being where I am today. I will be graduating from RIT in August of 2022 having majored in Sociology and Criminal Justice, as well as having minored in Criminal Justice. I am excited to start a career in the federal Criminal Justice system or within admissions/counseling in higher education. I plan to put myself through law school while working full time after graduating from RIT.

-Ally, Former NPRC Student

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