COVID, enrollment and sustainability cause Presentation College to close

Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 5:53 PM CST
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Presentation College announced Tuesday that it will close its Aberdeen campus after the Summer 2023 session.

The news of the closure was shocking for some staff and students, but Presentation College President Dr. Paula Langteau has been aware that the school’s enrollment numbers have been declining for a few years.

”From fall ‘20 to spring ‘21, we lost 63 students, which was very difficult for us. This fall to spring, we don’t have final census numbers yet, but we’ve lost about 100 students,” said Dr. Langteau.

The lack of enrollment also hurt revenue, and Dr. Langteau said Presentation College began to lose sustainability during the pandemic.

”That did some serious damage to the institution. Initially, it wasn’t terrible. In the fall of 2020, it was actually exciting. We were doing some positive things with enrollment management and our enrollment was up 7%, but since fall of 2020, it has been declining, and along with it, the revenues for the institution,” said Dr. Langteau.

For students who will not graduate before August of 2023, multiple teach-out programs are being offered. Partnerships with St. Ambrose University in Iowa, the University of Mary in North Dakota and Olivet College in Michigan will give both online and in-person students guaranteed acceptance with full credit transfers at the same graduation completion timeframe and net cost as Presentation College.

”So, it literally guarantees the most seamless transition for them, on time degree completion and on the budget they were anticipating,” said Dr. Langteau.

Dr. Langteau is expecting to add more teach-out options to the list soon.

“Already, we have three in place. I’m expecting to announce at least two more soon. I’ve just sent those teach-out agreements off to the Higher Learning Commission. They have to approve them before we can post them and announce them,” said Dr. Langteau.

Dr. Sherri Smith-Keys, the Dean of Nursing at Presentation College, says she’s working with St. Ambrose University to make the transition of the online nursing programs as smooth as possible.

”We will continue with the same curriculum here at PC, and for several semesters, looking at 2024, before completely bringing in new students with the combined curriculum,” said Dr. Smith-Keys.

A career fair and teach-out fair will be held at Presentation College on January 30th and 31st to help both students and staff with their next transition.