Iowa Wesleyan University faces closure, struggles to maintain "solid financial base"

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MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (KWQC) - The future of Iowa Wesleyan University is uncertain as the private liberal arts school struggles to stay afloat financially.

"We have struggled, yet survived, for decades because of our strong commitment to our students and the southeast Iowa region," University President Steven E. Titus, said in a release posted on the university's website.

Titus said Iowa Wesleyan University is "no different" than other "small liberal arts colleges and universities across the country" which face "significant financial challenges."

"The university does not have a healthy endowment or extensive donor network," Titus wrote. "At this moment, the university does not have the required financial underpinnings to bridge the gap between strong enrollment and new programming, and the money needed to keep the institution open."

The Hawk Eye Newspaper out of Burlington cited Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Meg Richtman as saying the school would need "at least $4.5 million to stay open for another year."

According to the news release provided by Titus, the university's Board of Trustees will meet on November 15 to discuss the school's future.

"We are actively and aggressively pursuing additional funding sources, and new and innovate partnerships, collaborations and supports," President Titus said in the release.

Titus said in the release the school has doubled its enrollment and student retention has increased over the last five years.

Earlier this year, the university announced it would be offering a new Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction program starting in January of 2019.

Titus said a decision could be made at the November 15 board meeting, and without funding, the future of the school's 574 students is uncertain.

"These decisions may have a profound impact on students, faculty, staff members as well as the entire southeastern Iowa community," Titus said." Iowa Wesleyan's economic impact to the southeastern Iowa region is over $55 million annually. We feel a strong responsibility and commitment to continue the mission of Iowa Wesleyan University."