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Saint Joseph’s University and the University of the Sciences are considering a merger to ensure that both institutions can continue to grow and thrive in a challenging higher education market, writes Susan Snyder for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Under the terms of the proposal, the 200-year-old USciences would become a part of the larger Saint Joseph’s. The 170-year-old Jesuit institution would retain its name over the merged entity.

Saint Joseph’s president Mark C. Reed and USciences president Paul Katz have signed a nonbinding letter of intent. This will look into the impact that a merger would have on both educational institutions and help develop an agreement.

Many things will be discussed during the process of the merger evaluation; however, the two presidents are looking to keep both campuses, which are just under five miles apart. Saint Joseph’s straddles the Lower Merion and Philadelphia border while USciences is located in West Philadelphia.

The universities would combine their faculty, budgets, and administrations, but it is not yet known if the move would result in job elimination.

“This is not about shrinking,” said Katz. “This is about growth and future potential.”

Read more about the possible merger at The Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.