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Freshmen check into Pitt Greensburg

Debra Erdley
| Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017, 6:24 p.m.
Madison Bredice (left), a junior from Salem Township, and Autumn Tinta, a junior from Munhall, push a cart of dorm supplies, as they help Brandon Reitz load in his belongings, during freshman move in day, at University of Pittsburgh Greensburg, in Hempfield Township, on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Madison Bredice (left), a junior from Salem Township, and Autumn Tinta, a junior from Munhall, push a cart of dorm supplies, as they help Brandon Reitz load in his belongings, during freshman move in day, at University of Pittsburgh Greensburg, in Hempfield Township, on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017.
Freshman Brandon Reitz, 18, of McKeesport, unpacks his food into a shared kitchen, inside Accademic Village's Athena Hall, during freshman move in day, at University of Pittsburgh Greensburg, in Hempfield Township, on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Freshman Brandon Reitz, 18, of McKeesport, unpacks his food into a shared kitchen, inside Accademic Village's Athena Hall, during freshman move in day, at University of Pittsburgh Greensburg, in Hempfield Township, on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017.
Senior Ryan Lynch, 22, of Drexel Hill, carries a box for an incoming student, during freshman move in day, at University of Pittsburgh Greensburg, in Hempfield Township, on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Senior Ryan Lynch, 22, of Drexel Hill, carries a box for an incoming student, during freshman move in day, at University of Pittsburgh Greensburg, in Hempfield Township, on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017.
Peyton Johnson (left), 18, of Hummelstown, is helped by upperclassmen Amanda Henderson, and Kaysie Einsig, during freshman move in day, at University of Pittsburgh Greensburg, in Hempfield Township, on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Peyton Johnson (left), 18, of Hummelstown, is helped by upperclassmen Amanda Henderson, and Kaysie Einsig, during freshman move in day, at University of Pittsburgh Greensburg, in Hempfield Township, on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017.
Greg Maleckar, 18, of Gibsonia, checks in and receives his student ID, during freshman move in day, at University of Pittsburgh Greensburg, in Hempfield Township, on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Greg Maleckar, 18, of Gibsonia, checks in and receives his student ID, during freshman move in day, at University of Pittsburgh Greensburg, in Hempfield Township, on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017.

Nestled in a wooded valley in Westmoreland County, the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg boasts that it offers a Pitt education without the need to go to Pittsburgh.

Nothing could be farther from the chaos and congestion of move-in day at the university's massive urban Oakland campus than the well-orchestrated move-in operation in Hempfield where families came Thursday to drop off freshmen.

Precious Jackson, a recent graduate of Carrick High School in Pittsburgh who plans to major in bioengineering, said the combination of the small, scenic campus and the opportunity to get a Pitt education at a significant discount were among the factors that drew her to Pitt Greensburg.

Whereas in-state tuition and fees at Pitt's Oakland campus total $19,080 a year, students attending Pitt Greensburg pay $13,870.

The first member of her family to attend college, Jackson, 18, is a little concerned about the loans she had to take on to attend school.

“I'm really excited,” she said. “I wish I didn't have to (go in debt), but I know it will be worth it in the future. And this fall, I plan to work hard and look for more assistance.”

Nine years after the financial meltdown that forced many families to reconsider the value of a college education, this year's incoming freshmen at Pitt Greensburg were optimistic that the investment and loans they're taking on will pay off in the long run.

Peyton Johnson, 18, of Hummelstown, a small town near Harrisburg, said she felt a mixture of excitement and anxiety as she and her mother, Jennifer Roman, unloaded their van after a four-hour drive to Greensburg.

A psychology major, she already knows that she'll spend at least the next six years in college and maybe more if she goes on for a doctorate, a possibility she'd like to explore.

Biology major Brandon Reitz, 18, of PortVue hopes to get into a graduate program to become a physician's assistant. The merit scholarship he snared from Pitt helped pare his costs this year, but he still had to take on loans. When room, board and books are rolled into the equation, the number often totals twice the cost of tuition.

“I'm not really worried. I feel safe. PAs are one of the top five jobs. There's a 30 percent growth in demand and most people have three job offers when they graduate” he said.

“I told him it is his job to do better than we have done,” his mother, Stacey Reitz, said as upper classmen wearing “Welcome Week” T-shirts steered her son to his new home in the school's academic village housing area.

Officials at Pitt Greensburg said preliminary reports suggest the freshman class exceeds 430 this fall. Total enrollment is expected to be about 1,480.

Debra Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7996 or derdley@tribweb.com or via Twitter @deberdley_trib.

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