INDIANAPOLIS—Marian University (marian.edu) will open an innovative two-year college adjacent to its westside campus in fall 2019, university officials announced today. Marian University President Daniel J. Elsener said that the goal of increasing access to higher education fits well with the university’s mission as a Catholic university and its relentless effort to bring educational options that are effective in meeting the needs of diverse student populations.
“The Lumina Foundation’s goal of increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025 will not be achieved if higher education maintains the status quo,” Marian University President Daniel J. Elsener said. “We require revolutionary responses that address the populations of students who aren’t going to college or aren’t finishing. Over the past two years, Marian University contracted an outside consultant to conduct a feasibility study around launching a two-year college, and subsequently assembled an implementation task force of faculty, staff and trustees to determine the best way to roll it out. Our innovative and mission-driven two-year college will provide the sense of community, support systems, and professional opportunities that many students need to be successful beyond high school.”
The new two-year college, which is yet to be named, has set a goal of enrolling 75-125 students in the first year. Students will have an option of pursuing one of three associate’s degree in liberal arts, information technology or business. The college will be fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and credits earned will be transferrable to other HLC accredited institutions, including Marian University.
“We are confident that we’ve landed on three focused areas of study that are relevant to employers, are true to our liberal arts foundation, and are easily transferable for students who may want to later pursue a four-year degree,” Elsener said. “We will always have the option of adding more degrees as our economy and the needs of employers shift, but research clearly indicates that it’s in the best interest of students to focus on a few areas of study rather than a plethora of options.”
Elsener said that the personal attention and one-on-one mentoring for which Marian University is renowned will be the hallmark of the new two-year college.
“Research indicates that learning outcomes are improved when students feel that they are a part of a community. Marian University has always been committed to creating a strong sense of community between our students and their professors,” Elsener said. “Students who are looking for an innovative approach to learning and possess the grit and determination needed to succeed will be attracted to our two-year college.” Elsener added that interested students will be required to submit an application and complete a thorough interview process to be considered for admission.
Perhaps the most innovative feature of the two-year college is the employer partnerships that are being established to help students make connections between learning and earning. Marian University faculty will work closely with specific central Indiana employers to ensure that students of the two-year college will be able to recognize connections in what they are learning in the classroom and their future jobs. Students will develop a foundation for lifelong learning while progressing toward their associate’s degree. Flexible class schedules will be established, allowing students to work, if they choose. “Our students will earn while they learn,” Elsener said.
The exact cost of tuition will be set by the board later this fall, but students will be eligible to apply for state and federal funding that will, in many cases, cover more than 90 percent of their tuition. Students will be able to use the wages earned from their jobs and internships to cover the remainder of tuition. Additionally, it is expected that the vast majority of students will commute to campus, allowing them to earn their associate’s degree with little-to-no debt.
For at least the first year, Marian University’s two-year college will be located at a property owned by the university on West 30th Street, less than a mile west of the main campus. Riverside High School, a second campus of Herron High School, hosted classes in the facility for its first year before moving to the former Naval Armory building this academic year. Because the two-year college will be located within walking distance of Marian University’s campus, students will have access to the library, computer resources, student health center, fitness center, Writing Center and other university resources.
Marlene Dotson, president & CEO of the Indiana Latino Institute, joined Elsener at the press conference today to offer support for the two-year college. “Advancing education for the Latino community is a big part of Indiana Latino Institute’s mission,” Dotson said. “There are many Latinos in central Indiana who choose to pursue an associate’s degree after high school. Marian’s two-year college will increase access to higher education and will prove to be an attractive option for many Latinos.”
Dennis Bland, president of Center for Leadership Development, echoed those sentiments. “Center for Leadership Development fosters the advancement of minority youth in Central Indiana by providing experiences that encourage personal development and educational attainment,” Bland said. “Marian University has long been a partner is helping us achieve that mission. We look forward to a continued partnership with Marian’s two-year college, which will provide an affordable opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds to pursue their dream of attaining a college degree.”
Applications are being accepted now for fall 2019 enrollment at marian.edu/twoyearcollege.