Posted: April 2, 2020
FULLERTON, CA - The Hope International University (HIU) Board of Trustees has announced that it will cease operations on its Nebraska Christian College (NCC) branch campus at the end of the spring semester. NCC became a branch campus when it merged with HIU in 2016, after operating as an independent college since 1944. University officials assure students enrolled at the Nebraska campus that they will have multiple options as they adapt to the campus closure.
“It is imperative that our students and their families understand this is a branch campus closure,” said HIU President Paul Alexander. “Students enrolled at NCC are already HIU students, by virtue of the merger, and will continue to be enrolled at HIU. We fully understand that this news, initially, is shocking, unsettling, and disappointing for our students, but we want them to know that we will do everything in our power to assist them through this.”
Students may choose to transition to HIU’s California campus in Fullerton to complete their degree programs or to complete their degrees online. Half of the 85 students on campus are already enrolled in online programs, and may continue uninterrupted, while the other half have the option to transition to the Fullerton campus or complete their degrees online.
This transition will not increase students’ out-of-pocket tuition costs, and institutional financial aid levels will remain the same.
Ministry students participating in residencies are able to continue at their current host churches. President Alexander said that HIU will be consulting in the coming months with select church leaders in the NCC region to develop a plan for preserving ongoing ministry preparation opportunities.
“This extremely difficult decision is a reflection of the unprecedented financial challenges facing many small, private, Christian higher educational institutions across the country,” said Toby Yurek, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “In these challenging times, institutions must make hard choices in order to survive and thrive.”
NCC was struggling financially prior to the 2016 merger, and the strategic addition of intercollegiate athletics and increased online academic options was intended to grow the student body. After a post-merger enrollment jump to 140 students (a 27% increase), Spring 2020 enrollment has dropped catastrophically to an historic, 30-year low of 85. The enrollment decrease has caused unsustainable operating losses for a small campus. After months of prayerful consideration and Godly counsel, the Board of Trustees came to this hard and painful decision.
“Good stewardship of God’s resources requires that we take action, no matter how difficult,” said Dr. Alexander.
Officials say that the University’s commitment to maintain scholarship and tuition levels is central to the students’ best interests and remain completely focused on supporting students in their continued education and receiving their degrees from HIU.
“As an alumnus of NCC, I am deeply saddened by this,” said Tony Clark ('86), Associate Vice President for Business and Operations and former Interim President. “But it is crucial to remember that the legacy of NCC is not found on this property, but in the lives and achievements of our students and alumni, and in the lives that are changed through the impact of those students and alumni.”
Nebraska Christian College has granted degrees to more than 1,000 students over the course of its 75-year history.