The college’s admissions office is capitalizing on a timely opportunity to bring Saint Joseph’s College students to Franklin College.
Saint Joseph — a private, Catholic college with a comparable liberal arts curriculum to Franklin College — is suspending operations at the end of the semester after years of financial issues and high debt, leaving its roughly 1,100 enrolled students without a place to go.
That’s why Franklin College is actively recruiting its students in various ways, including through a link on the college’s homepage: “Saint Joseph’s College student? Learn about transferring to Franklin.”
Franklin College has modified the application requirements for Saint Joseph students interested in transferring. The students are only required to submit the free transfer application and their college transcript to be considered for admission, according to Admissions Director Jennifer Bostrom.
The college typically also requires transfer applicants to submit a high school transcript, SAT or ACT test scores and a transfer student recommendation form.
Saint Joseph students also get their $100 enrollment deposit fee waived.
Because of the sudden closure, the college is also being more flexible with what Saint Joseph courses will receive transfer credit and will be applied to Franklin’s major requirements.
“This is in an effort to assist Saint Joseph’s College students with completing their degrees on time or in a timely manner,” Bostrom said.
Although the admissions office doesn’t have a prediction of how many Saint Joseph students will transfer, Bostrom said Franklin College currently has a handful of applicants moving through the admissions and financial aid process.
“Right now, we are just here to help Saint Joseph’s College students in finding their next place to call their college home as they go through a very challenging time,” she said.
Although Franklin College is trying to aid in a smooth transfer for these students, the college is not listed as one of the nearly 50 “Teach-Out” schools Saint Joseph is formally partnering with.
The “Teach-Out” process is designed to help Saint Joseph students complete their academic careers on time. The college has created initial agreements with nearby institutions like University of Indianapolis, Anderson University, DePauw University and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, among others.
Kate Coffman, vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid, said her office has submitted all the materials to qualify as a “Teach-Out” school. But the application, along with the other colleges offering to do so, is pending approval of the Higher Learning Commission.
“Our understanding is that the Higher Learning Commission has not approved St. Joe to offer Teach-Out agreements with any college,” she said. “St. Joe has not updated their website to reflect that information.”
Saint Joseph’s Board of Trustees voted in early February to temporarily close the college’s Rensselaer, Indiana, campus after this spring semester because of growing financial issues.
The college chose to indefinitely suspend operations after coming to the conclusion it didn’t have enough money to operate. It has collected approximately $27 million in debt, has deteriorating facilities that require increased spending on maintenance and has struggled with stagnant tuition and alumni contribution revenues, among a slew of other factors outlined on their website.