When one door closes, another door opens.
This familiar expression rings true for junior Austin Fleming and eight former Saint Joseph’s College students who recently transferred to Franklin earlier this year.
Saint Joseph’s College—a private, Catholic liberal arts college located in Rensselaer—suspended operations at the end of the spring 2017 semester after years of financial challenge. Nine students out of the roughly 1,100 enrolled transferred to Franklin, according to admissions counselor Trae Washington.
Fleming said the school’s closing impacted him more than he expected, but he looks forward to discovering new opportunities at another school.
“It was definitely challenging knowing that you just had to get up and leave,” Fleming said. “There was nothing that we could say or do to change it. Everything happens for a reason, as sad as that may be, so I’m just making the best out of a new opportunity.”
Fleming said he looked at schools in states as far as North Dakota and Florida before deciding that Franklin was a good fit for him.
“Football was one of the reasons I came here,” Fleming said. “I liked the program. I liked the coach. I liked the town because it reminds me of my hometown, which is the town Saint Joe is in. Looking at all the differences in schools, Franklin just felt like home.”
The Franklin reported last semester that Franklin College modified its application requirements for Saint Joseph students who expressed interest in transferring. Students were required to submit the free transfer application and their college transcript to be considered for admission.
Transfer students are typically required to submit a high school transcript, SAT or ACT scores and a transfer student recommendation form. The $100 enrollment deposit fee was also waived for these students.
“Overall, I think these students were saddened that their institution was shutting down, but they felt finishing their collegiate career at Franklin was the best option for them,” Washington said.
Saint Joseph’s College is currently planning to reopen its doors in the future. Chris Pulver, the college’s vice president for academic affairs, said there is no set date for the reopening of the school, but the college is currently fundraising through gifts and the liquidation of assets.
Before closing, it had collected approximately $27 million in debt, had deteriorating facilities and struggled with stagnant tuition and alumni contribution revenues, among a slew of other factors outlined on their website.
But several Saint Joseph’s students have found a new home a Franklin College, and Pulver said the Saint Joseph’s is grateful for the help.
“We were fortunate to have other institutions, like Franklin, step to our aid and offer our Pumas a new home,” Pulver said.