College Finds Student Loan Partner, Stabilizing Its Financial Position And Ensuring A Future Free Of Federal Funding
“This is an historic moment in the life of Wyoming Catholic,” said Dr. Glenn Arbery, the College’s president. “Next academic year, Wyoming Catholic College will no longer be ’self-funding’ its student loan program. Instead, its students will receive their loans through Notre Dame Federal Credit Union.”
Why is this news? In early 2015, the Board of Directors of Wyoming Catholic College voted unanimously to forgo participation in the Federal Student Loan and Grant Programs (known colloquially as Title IV). Most colleges use these loans—offered at below-market rates and subsidized by taxpayers—to support their academic programs and sustain their financial health. As a young institution, the College would have been able to use those funds to solidify its financial positions. But accepting them meant also accepting an agenda that gravely threatened the traditional exercise of religious liberty. While the College has remained free of these agendas, the financial reality of abstaining from such a continuous stream of government assistance has been a challenging one.
Since 2015, this principled stand has required Wyoming Catholic to issue its own student loans, matching the government’s low interest rates. But the College’s administration knew that such a solution was not sustainable, not if Wyoming Catholic wished to thrive and grow rather than merely survive. Although its students and graduates have been extraordinarily faithful in paying off their loans—and benefactors have stepped up to help bridge the gap—the fact remains that the College has been educating its students without being paid until they graduate and repay their loans, sometimes years later.
Now, however, thanks to Notre Dame FCU (not affiliated with the University of Notre Dame), that all changes. “With the support of our students and their families and with the help of Notre Dame Federal Credit Union,” said Dr. Arbery, “we will receive the same payment for our services that our peers receive, and on terms very similar to those provided by the government’s subsidized programs. Yet these payments will be possible without the strings and the federal overreach that so dangerously accompany those funds.”
Notre Dame FCU’s President and CEO, Tom Gryp, is pleased to assist the College in its efforts to achieve a stronger financial position without compromising its principles. “As the nation’s largest Catholic-oriented credit union,” he said, “we are honored to provide financing to Wyoming Catholic College. The College provides an important service to the Church by offering a unique option for students seeking a classical Catholic college education. This is both a sound business decision for us and an exciting opportunity to serve the Church in America.”
“Since we cap our students’ debt at $20,000,” Dr. Arbery added, “there is still a significant difference between what our students—now with the help of Notre Dame FCU—can afford to pay and what it actually costs to keep the College fully funded. Because of that funding discrepancy, this new arrangement won’t eliminate a number of our financial challenges. We will always rely (gratefully) on the generosity of our benefactors in order to provide this extraordinary education. But this is truly a watershed moment for us, and our agreement with Notre Dame Federal Credit Union gives us the financial health and security we need to carve out a better future for our students.”