Concordia University set to close doors at the end of this semester

Courtesy of Creative Commons

On Feb. 10, Concordia University in NE Portland announced it would be closing its doors at the end of the spring semester. The Interim President Thomas Ries posted a statement on the university’s website. 

“The university’s current and projected enrollment and finances make it impossible to continue its educational mission,” Ries said.  

Concordia University is currently working on getting its 5,342 students situated at new institutions by providing information about transfers and academic records on their website. 

Many students found the news very shocking and claimed that they were not made aware of the financial condition of the college prior to the announcement of its closure. Some students are seeking a refund of their tuition in a class-action lawsuit filed against the school and others staged a walkout on Feb. 13. 

In a faculty meeting President Wim Wiewel commented on Concordia’s closing, disputing similarities between LC and Concordia, adding that the closure was due largely to mismanaged finances. 

One of many Oregonian articles written on the university’s closure cited the specific state of Concordia’s finances at the time of the announcement. 

“The school had nearly maxed out its credit line, defaulted on bond terms and amassed tens of millions of dollars in loans and business debts,” the article said.

Bruce Suttmeier, dean of the college, and Eric Stabb, vice president for Admissions and Financial Aid, addressed what the closure could mean for the LC community.

“We are certainly open to the idea of having the Concordia students apply to transfer to LC, just as any other students at other colleges may want to transfer to us,” Stabb said via email. “Every fall we matriculate around 50 new transfer students from all sorts of schools.”

Suttmeier stated that LC is doing all it can to help Concordia students. 

“The College is working hard to do outreach to Concordia – attending the transfer fair they had last week, setting up a webpage for Concordia students interested in transferring, working with departments (Bio and Psych, the two majors we have in common) to make sure we let students know what specific courses will transfer,” Suttmeier said via email.

A webpage on the LC website advertises that Concordia University students who are interested in transferring may be eligible for financial support that would make the out-of-pocket cost of LC the same as the cost at Concordia. In the 2018/19 academic year their tuition was around $44,000.

Concordia and LC do not have many majors in common, making a large influx of Concordia students to LC unlikely.  

Concordia’s website laid out the university’s plans regarding graduation and logic behind the decision making process. 

“April 25, 2020 will mark the last commencement ceremony at the Concordia University – Portland campus,” the website said. “The Board made this decision to prioritize the well-being of students, faculty, and staff and fulfill its fiduciary obligations. In the Board’s best judgment, a thoughtful and orderly closure process offers the best possible outcome for all affected parties”

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