At their February, 2015 meeting, Wyoming Catholic’s Board of Directors unanimously decided to forgo participation in the Federal Student Loan and Grant Programs (known colloquially as Title IV). As a young institution, Wyoming Catholic College would surely have been able to use these funds to solidify its current financial position, and to help with additional educational projects and programs.
One of the key issues discussed by the Board’s task force when measuring the risks of accepting Title IV funds involved concerns about the impact federal regulation might have on the College’s hiring and admissions practices. As a faithful Catholic institution, the College wishes to preserve its institutional integrity in such practices—a stance that could be severely compromised by the regulatory power which accompanies the acceptance of federal funds.
The most immediate, most significant benefit to the College if we had decided to accept Title IV funding at this time would have come in the form of government-backed student loans. The challenge we face is that the government has created a false student loan market, providing loans at a much lower interest rate than can be matched by any private financial institution, bank, or credit union. So, in an attempt to make our education truly affordable to our students while simultaneously maintaining our institutional autonomy, we are providing them with loans ourselves, offering them a comparable interest rate to what they would receive from the federal government. While the College has been looking into other revenue streams from private sources (such as banks and credit unions) or from individuals who would loan the money directly to the students—solutions that would make those funds available to us without incurring ties to the federal government—none are viable alternatives at this time. And that’s quite a heavy financial burden.
Where Does The College Go From Here?
While the College’s Board and Administration are confident that they’ve made the right decision for this stage in Wyoming Catholic’s development, they hold out hope that fasting from federal funds will not always be a necessity. In the meantime, the College is hard at work searching for ways to offset the loss of funding. The message heard most clearly when discussing this step with the College’s various constituencies was one of solidarity: “If you chart this path, we will stand with you—with courage, with prayer, and with ongoing financial support.” But on a practical level, this decision means that all of us at the College will have to work that much harder to accomplish our noble mission.”
How You Can Help
Seeking to offer competitive financial aid despite abstaining from Title IV funding, Wyoming Catholic College established the Saint Thomas More Fund. St. Thomas More, who served as Chancellor of England under the infamous Henry VIII, is best remembered for his principled objection to the King’s heretical views on marriage and his refusal to back Henry’s attempts to separate from the Catholic Church over those views. This refusal eventually led to his death (by beheading), making him an exemplary example of courage and unwavering commitment to the Faith at all costs.
Donations to the Saint Thomas More Fund can be made through our Online Donation Page, by using the embedded BlueFire form below, or by contacting the Office of Institutional Advancement (by phone at 307-332-2930 or by email at [email protected]).