Fontbonne College to shut in 2025


Fontbonne College, based greater than 100 years in the past, will shut in 2025.

Fb/Fontbonne College

Squeezed by monetary pressures, Fontbonne College will shut subsequent 12 months.

The non-public Roman Catholic college in Missouri introduced the information on Monday after the Board of Trustees voted to finish operations as a consequence of Fontbonne’s deteriorating monetary situation.

“After a few years of declining enrollments and a shrinking endowment, the monetary place of the college is now not capable of be sustained for the long run,” President Nancy Blattner mentioned in a press release, noting that Fontbonne won’t enroll a fall 2024 class and can shut down in 2025.

Monetary Pressures

Based in 1923, Fontbonne College simply handed its one centesimal birthday. However the previous couple of years, as Blattner famous, have been marked by enrollment declines and severe monetary points.

In fall 2023, Fontbonne enrolled 874 college students, in line with a spokesperson. That quantity was down greater than 50 p.c from fall 2013, when practically 2,000 college students had been enrolled, in line with the Division of Training’s Built-in Postsecondary Training Information System.

As enrollment slipped, Fontbonne’s monetary challenges mounted. A evaluation of publicly accessible paperwork exhibits that the college has struggled to generate income for a lot of the final decade, ceaselessly working at a deficit.

Officers made numerous efforts to offset a few of these losses, together with shedding 27 staff in 2018—roughly 10 p.c of the college’s workforce on the time. Final fall, Fontbonne introduced it might lower 21 educational applications and one other 19 school jobs. The transfer, introduced within the face of a $5.2 million finances deficit, was anticipated to avoid wasting the college $2 million.

Fontbonne’s endowment was valued at $12.6 million in fiscal 12 months 2022—a far cry from the median endowment of $209 million that 12 months, primarily based on 688 contributors in a Nationwide Affiliation of School and College Enterprise Officers and Commonfund research.

Previous to the closure, Fontbonne sought a companion to assist maintain it operational, in line with a ceaselessly requested questions web page in regards to the determination posted on the web site.

“The college administration has been working to discover a path ahead for Fontbonne both as an unbiased college or as a companion with one other establishment for greater than a 12 months,” officers wrote. “Conversations with potential companions had been occurring as just lately as late final month. When it turned clear that there was no path ahead, the Board of Trustees voted to shut the college.”

Close by Washington College will buy Fontbonne’s 16-acre campus, the FAQ web page famous.

Sector Challenges

Fontbonne just isn’t the one non-public school that has struggled to outlive within the Present-Me State.

In October 2023, Columbia School, which is headquartered in Missouri, introduced plans to chop 122 jobs and shut 17 of its 45 areas throughout the U.S. due to a finances shortfall. Officers blamed enrollment challenges prompted by the declining quantity of highschool graduates, in addition to an more and more aggressive on-line surroundings lately.

Final 12 months Cox School in Springfield entered an uncommon association, asserting plans to confess college students by spring 2025 after which shut down when these applications conclude. At the moment, Cox will switch sure applications to Missouri State College and Ozarks Technical Group School. That transition is a part of the hassle to launch the Alliance for Healthcare Training, a nonprofit company anticipated to open by fall 2025 and provide instruction by a neighborhood hospital system.

Webster College, which is headquartered in Missouri however has quite a few campuses the world over, has additionally handled current monetary points, together with a lawsuit alleging that it did not pay lease on its downtown St. Louis campus. Dealing with a monetary deficit, Webster College just lately obtained approval to carry restrictions on endowment funds to satisfy liquidity obligations for a mortgage.

Had the lender demanded fee due to the shortage of accessible property required by the settlement, the college would have “struggled to satisfy its monetary obligations,” an legal professional for Webster mentioned in court docket paperwork, apparently making a veiled reference to a potential closure.

Avila College, one other Catholic establishment in Missouri, obtained related approval in fall 2023 to carry restrictions on its endowment to fund monetary help packages. Officers argued that with out entry to these funds, Avila would have been unable to offer institutional help, prompting a decide to carry restrictions on $6.4 million {dollars}.

Neither is Fontbonne the one Catholic school to face closure lately.

In 2023, 4 Catholic establishments introduced plans to shut: Cabrini College, Cardinal Stritch College, Magdalen School, and Presentation School. Earlier this month, Notre Dame School in Ohio introduced it might shut. All cited declining enrollment and monetary pressures.

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