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Facing ‘Headwinds,’ Alverno College Cuts Majors, Jobs to Ensure Survival

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Facing ‘Headwinds,’ Alverno College Cuts Majors, Jobs to Ensure Survival

June 17, 2024 11:30 AM CDT

By: Stuart J. Wattles

MILWAUKEE, Wis (WAUK) — Alverno College’s Board of Trustees voted to declare an urgent financial situation and approved a restructuring plan. That means cuts in academic programs and faculty positions in an effort to restore the school’s financial stability.

The private Catholic liberal arts college for women in Milwaukee is realigning its 43 undergraduate majors down to 29 and reducing its 25 graduate programs to 19. It will also eliminate 25 full-time faculty jobs and 12 staff positions. “These are difficult decisions…but these actions are necessary as we forge a path forward that safeguards Alverno’s survival,” President Christy Brown said.

One athletic program, track and field, will be discontinued.

The board, in a statement, reaffirmed Alverno’s commitment to its educational mission amid what trustees called “headwinds” facing higher education in Wisconsin. Nearly 70% of incoming undergraduates are first-generation college students.

“We see the value and potential of these women to Milwaukee’s economic and social well-being,” Brown said. “This is why the long-term sustainability of Alverno is imperative to our region.”

At the undergraduate level, all current students will be able to complete their studies at Alverno. But the restructuring impacts 25 graduate students in three majors. The college is pursuing arrangements to allow them to finish their degrees elsewhere.

Alverno’s challenges highlight financial pressures facing many small private colleges that rely heavily on tuition revenue. Enrollment declines, rising costs and a competitive higher education marketplace have forced many to restructure academic offerings.

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