SOUTH BEND — Facing financial pressures, like some other small liberal arts colleges across the country, Holy Cross College has been ordered by an accrediting agency to develop a four-year plan to get out from under increasing yearly borrowing and the need to eliminate positions during the summer to balance its budget.
That plan is being developed under new leadership after the sudden departure last month of the college's president.
By June 12, Holy Cross must produce an interim report on budget and audit information for review by a financial panel of the Higher Learning Commission, the regional accrediting agency for post-secondary schools and colleges in the central United States.
The college's operating budgets in fiscal year 2014 and fiscal year 2015 were in the red, by $139,000 and $930,000, respectively, according to a copy of the October 2016 HLC assessment team's final report on Holy Cross obtained by the South Bend Tribune. Though the college's accreditation remains intact, HLC will require a team visit focusing on finances in fall 2018.
It's symptomatic of issues facing many small private colleges these days, as competition and financial pressures make their missions more challenging. A few private colleges have closed their doors.
Meanwhile, a Holy Cross vice president on Friday mistakenly sent out an email to the entire student body painting a bleak picture of the college's finances and its chances of survival.