Marian University to partner with Saint Joseph’s on new two-year college

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Marian University, which announced plans last month to launch a two-year college in Indianapolis for non-traditional students, said Wednesday that it has reached an agreement to collaborate on the new school with Saint Joseph’s College, which closed its Rensselaer campus in northwest Indiana in 2017.

The boards of trustees at both institutions have signed agreements formalizing the collaboration, according to Marian officials. The new college will be called Saint Joseph’s College of Marian University-Indianapolis. It is scheduled to open in July.

“This is a collaboration between two Catholic institutions with a shared mission and history,” said Marian University President Dan Elsener in written comments. “Saint Joe’s has a rich tradition of educating thousands upon thousands of leaders with a strong liberal arts foundation. The outlook for success for our innovative two-year college is greatly enhanced by this collaboration.”

Saint Joseph’s College Rector, the Rev. Barry Fischer, said the collaboration was a “positive step forward for the future of Saint Joseph’s College." The institution has pledged $1.5 million to be paid over 10 years to help fund scholarships for students.

The college will open adjacent to the Marian campus in Indianapolis, but the institutions will study whether it makes sense to expand to other areas of the state. One of the locations that will be studied is Saint Joseph’s campus in Rensselaer. 

“Our first priority is ensuring the successful opening of our flagship campus in Indianapolis,” Elsener said. “Once we have that site up and running, we can begin to look at expanding into rural areas, with the Rensselaer campus being a focal point of that study.”

Former faculty members and staff members from Saint Joseph’s College will be strongly considered for open positions at the college.

IBJ reported previously that the new college has an enrollment goal of between 75 and 125 students in the first year. It will have programs in liberal arts, business and information technology.  The college will also feature employer partnerships which will allow students to work while earning a degree.

Marian and Saint Joseph’s have collaborated in the past. When Saint Joseph’s closed in May 2017 after 126 years of operation due to financial challenges, including $27 million in debt, it affected the school’s 904 students. 

Marian stepped in to offered transfer assistance to its students, including guaranteeing that the students’ tuition costs wouldn’t change. About 80 students from the Rensselaer school ended up transferring to Marian.

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