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By Madison Pitsch

Students at Grace University in Omaha are facing a tough question after learning that their university will be closing in May of 2018: Where will they go now?

“I am excited about what Concordia students, faculty and staff can offer to the Grace students in a time of need and what they will bring to campus,” said Scott Seevers, senior vice president of enrollment management and marketing at Concordia University, Nebraska.  “At the same time, I feel deeply for them. It is something I would not want to go through, or wish on other people. I just empathize with the situation they are dealing with right now.”

Grace University was suffering from financial stress and low enrollment numbers. The administration at Grace had found what they considered a long term solution in the empty campus of the former Dana College in Blair, but these plans fell through.

Now around 450 Grace students are forced to choose another college that will fit their remaining needs. Many universities, such as Concordia, Midland University and Doane University, are reaching out to Grace students and offering them things like a semester of free tuition, free room and board, and guaranteed transfer of certain credits.

On Friday, October 13, several staff and faculty from Concordia University met with students from Grace to talk about eventual transfer. They promised the students three main things: most of their credits will count towards degrees at Concordia, tuition costs will remain consistent and the Christ-centered community they had come to know at Grace will be consistent at Concordia as well.

Seevers was one of the staff in attendance at this meeting. He said there was modest interest in Concordia, and is expecting interest to grow as Grace’s administration begins advising their students on which step to take next.

Seevers said that he thinks Grace students could have a big impact on Concordia’s campus and that they will be a “good fit” for Concordia’s faith-centered culture.

“I think they will bring with them a lot of the traits that we look for in our own students,” Seevers said. “They will bring some battle scars with them from this experience, and that gives us an opportunity to embrace them, to really give them a warm hug as a community and say, ‘You are welcome, we care about you.’”

Seevers also stressed the importance of intentional integration, meaning that Concordia should not rush Grace students until they are ready to talk about what happened and feel ready to look into their new options.

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This story will be be updated as the Sower learns more about the situation.


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