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St. Catharine College Announces Closure at end of July

SCCST. CATHARINE, KY - After numerous meetings of the St. Catharine College Board of Trustees, chairman John Turner announced at a campus-wide faculty and staff meeting on Wednesday, June 1, that the College would be closing as of July 31. "It is with great sadness that I announce today, after exploring all possible options, the Board of Trustees has determined the challenges facing St. Catharine College are insurmountable and we will be closing the college at the end of July," Turner said. The primary reasons for the closure were attributed to the ongoing unresolved dispute with the federal Department of Education over financial aid which has led to a decline in enrollment along with an insurmountable debt of over $28 million. Enrollment for the fall freshmen would have been 475 students, which would not support basic operational costs. Dominican Sisters of Peace Prioress Sr. Patricia Twohill, OP, said, "We are profoundly saddened by the news of the closure of St. Catharine College. We know that Dr. Gnadinger and her team, as well as the Board of Trustees, have done everything possible to sustain the college in the face of numerous insurmountable challenges. We are keenly aware of the impact of the closure on the students, faculty and staff as well as the local civic community. For us, this is like a death in the family. St. Catharine College has graduated thousands of professionally trained students who are well-equipped to be productive citizens and leaders around the world. The legacy of St. Catharine College will live long in the hearts and minds of the alumni and with the Dominican Sisters of Peace." President Cindy Gnadinger and the College's Board of Trustees have worked tirelessly in attempting to satisfy the requirements of the Department of Education and to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in immediate operating funds through this past spring semester. SCC building"Without the enrollment and with the DOE's chokehold on our cashflow, the debt is simply not manageable," Chairman Turner explained. Current enrollment projections are significantly diminished to fewer than 475 students enrolled for the Fall 2016 semester - a drop that College officials exclusively attribute to the negative impact of the DOE's ongoing refusal to allow financial aid in key academic programs. In recent weeks, the College administrators and trustees have explored various options for moving ahead and even explored the idea of an alliance with several other institutions. St. Catharine College President Dr. Cindy Gnadinger has recently held meetings with other college leaders, but the idea of some type of merger has proven unsuccessful. College administrators state they have reached out to several other institutions to establish teach-out plans for the current students. College administrators remain committed to ensuring this difficult situation is not exacerbated by a difficult transfer situation for SCC's students. Articulation agreements are being put together to ensure students' academic credits will transfer easily and tuition arrangements will be honored as closely to the tuition rates that St. Catharine students are accustomed to paying. Chairman Turner expressed his gratitude to the employees of the College for working diligently through what has been an extremely challenging year. Summer camps and classes will proceed as already scheduled, but no classes will begin in the Fall. St. Catharine College employed 118 full-time faculty and staff employees, as well as numerous part-time staff and adjunct instructors.

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