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MILWAUKEE — Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee is closing permanently on May 22. University President Dr. Dan Scholz made the announcement Monday, April 10.

In his video announcement, Scholz says the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi have “accepted the recommendation of the school’s Board of Trustees” to end operations next month. Students were informed via their campus email but were not given any information about what the closure means for their academic future.

Local students affected by Cardinal Stritch closing

Genise Perry, a teacher at Fratt Elementary School, is one of the many students affected by the school’s closing. – Photo courtesy of Genise Perry

Genise Perry is a teacher at Fratt Elementary School and is three classes shy of obtaining her Master’s degree in Literacy. She planned to graduate in December 2023, at the end of the fall semester.

I found out Monday night and just couldn’t believe it. We received notice there is a meeting on campus Wednesday but haven’t heard if any other schools in the area will accept all of our credits so we can stay on track to graduate on time.

Genise Perry

Concordia University a hopeful next step

According to a story from TMJ4, Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon might be an option.

Michael Uden, vice provost for student enrollment and engagement, told the news station that Concordia is committed to “offering admission, equal or lower tuition rates, and transfer credits,” all dependent on individual students’ academic status.

The school posted a blog Monday for Stritch students addressing the situation and announcing a Zoom call for them at 7 p.m. CDT Thursday, April 13.

What happened at Cardinal Stritch might be the first of what could be many small colleges and universities to shutter their windows and doors.

Eric Fulcomer, president of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, told Spectrum One news that declining high school graduation rates and changing attitudes about the necessity of a college education makes for a “challenging landscape.”

He stressed that when schools close, other institutions fill the gap, so Cardinal Stritch students will find new academic homes where they can finish their degrees.

“When [this] happens, other institutions of higher education come together and provide support for those students,” Fulcomer told Spectrum News. “There will be a number of schools, including many of our members, who will come forward and make a pathway to those students available to them.”

This is a developing story. The Racine County Eye will update when more information on the Cardinal StritchUniversity closing becomes available.

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