Abigail Chadwick, Assistant News Editor (Photo by Preston Morris/The Bison)
St. Gregory’s University (SGU) closed in the fall of 2017. Some of their students came to OBU, but their admission has had little effect on OBU’s spring enrollment numbers. Bruce Perkins, associate vice president for enrollment management, said OBU has 1,919 students total for the spring 2018 semester, including nine new freshmen and 40 transfer students. Some of these transfers are from SGU.
“I can gladly say that OBU was quick to our aide and was at SGU the next day to give us information on the what we would need to for the transfer process,” sophomore health and human performance major Mackenzie Palmer, who transferred from SGU, said. “Once the acceptance letters were confirmed, staff from OBU came and helped with enrollment on the day of the college fair. All of the staff were very helpful and sympathetic towards our situation and made all the paperwork easy to get through.”
OBU reached a teach-out agreement with SGU. “Teach-out is what happens when an institution closes and they reach teach-out agreement with other universities,” Perkins said. “We were not the only one that had a teach-out agreement with St. Greg’s. I think there were three or four others that did as well.”
This teach-out agreement means that SGU students can receive an SGU degree presented by OBU.
“It’ll be a degree from St. Greg’s that will be conferred by OBU because the bulk of their work will have been taken at St. Greg’s,” Perkins said.
SGU students who can’t graduate within two semesters don’t qualify for the teach-out program and are counted as regular transfer students.
“To be a teach-out student you have to be able to finish your degree within the academic year, one academic year,” Perkins said. “So, this spring and December – two regular academic terms – if it was going to take longer than December for you to finish the degree then you’re not under the teach-out agreement.”
While not all the SGU teach-out students will graduate in the spring, a fall graduation will work out for some.
“The main reason I chose OBU is because I was still eligible to graduate a semester early, so I’ll graduate in December of 2018 instead of May of 2019,” junior health and human performance major Alexis Diggs, who transferred from SGU, said. “This helped me because I have been applying to chiropractor schools and it is easier to start in the January trimester than either summer or fall. Since I have transferred and learned that I’m graduating in December, I have been accepted into chiropractor schools already.”
OBU’s teach-out agreement has two components: OBU will try to match a student’s remaining course requirements and the OBU residency requirement will be waived.
“Basically, what it means is that we’re going to do our best to try to offer courses that we currently offer; we’re not creating any new courses to match as close as we can what their remaining course requirements would be,” Perkins said. “The other element is we have a residency requirement: they have to take so many hours in residency before you can get an OBU degree and those are waived for teach-out students.”
While the total num-ber of students is up from last spring, the number of undergradu-ates is down. “[The total headcount is] up a bit over last spring,” Perkins said. “Undergraduates are down a little bit from last spring. Everything’s always down in the spring compared to the fall because people graduate in December and if everybody stayed you’d still be down.”
OBU’s return rate has not changed significantly.
“We’re still trending pretty much the same as we’ve done,” Perkins said. “We’ve been trending for several years at an over 90 percent return rate.”
The enrollment numbers from this semester are not expected to have a significant impact on future enrollment numbers.
“We won’t realize a lot of difference probably,” Perkins said. “Going forward in the fall we’ll still bring in 500 or so freshman, and we’ll still graduate about 300.”