Increased operating costs, unstable enrollment and impact of COVID-19 drove decision
MANITOWOC, Wis. — The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sponsored Ministries today said that Holy Family College will cease operations at the end of the summer term and discontinue all operations by August 29.
Sister Natalie Binversie, Community Director of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity in Manitowoc, said the Sisters made the difficult decision to approve cessation of the College’s operations after careful consideration of current enrollment and fundraising challenges as well as a detailed analysis of the College’s fiscal position. She added that the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic only made a tough situation untenable.
“Everyone at the College has been working hard to achieve enrollment growth and increased fundraising, especially College President Dr. Robert Callahan. Under his leadership, good progress was made in addressing several years of earlier negative fiscal performance, and overall, he did a great job. However, the tough challenges were made even tougher with the COVID-19 outbreak, and we collectively made this difficult decision,” Sister Natalie said.
She noted that many smaller colleges in the Midwest and throughout the country have faced similar fiscal pressures and closed and that Holy Family College is only the latest to make this very difficult decision.
“Consistent with our Franciscan Catholic values, we will work with the College community and the community at large to implement closing procedures in the most compassionate, just and thoughtful way possible,” Sister Natalie added. “Our priority is how we can best assist all members of our college family in this transition, especially transitioning our students and trying to help our faculty and staff secure new jobs. They will be our priority going forward.”
“This means our current class of 2020 will be the final graduating class at Holy Family College. We will work with all other students to assist them in transferring to other schools so they may pursue and complete their college education,” Sister Natalie said. “This was a most difficult decision, and it was made only after a lot of discernment, much discussion and prayerful consideration of all the options.”
Sister Natalie added that the College would begin its wind down in June and provide a limited number of already scheduled summer term classes that will allow a number of students to complete their degree requirements. She added the goal for the transitioning students will be to assist them in enrolling at another college that will accept all of their Holy Family College credits and put them on a path to complete an equal or comparable degree program at a cost similar to or less than what they are paying to attend Holy Family College.
She said that the College will start to reduce its workforce on June 13, further reduce it on June 30 and eliminate any remaining positions by August 29. She added that full-time faculty positions will conclude on August 13, except for those who will teach the summer term. Starting in July, the College will have a small staff that will be focused on close down activities.
Sister Natalie said the College will work to provide students with access to academic counselors and other professionals to assist them with transfer options and financial aid questions. She said the College also will reach out to potential new students so they can make different plans.
“We realize that this announcement is happening late in the spring, so we will work as hard as we can with all the students to help them transition to a new school and make different plans,” added Sister Natalie.
“The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity have responded to our calling to the service of others in Manitowoc for 150 years. While we are saddened by the need to end our mission at Holy Family College, we will maintain our presence in the community through our health care and service ministries,” said Sister Natalie.