Why Did WCC Decide To Reject Government Funding?

The Reasons

During their February meeting, Wyoming Catholic’s Board of Directors unanimously decided to forgo participation in the Federal Student Loan and Grant Programs (known more colloquially as Title IV). As a young institution, Wyoming Catholic College would surely have been able to put federal funds to good use, not only to solidify its current financial position, but to help with additional educational projects and programs.

Yet the Board is confident that the decision to forego Title IV funding was a prudent one, believing that the current cultural and political climate carries grave threats against the religious liberty and institutional autonomy of colleges and universities such as ours.  “With this decision,” says the College’s president, Dr. Kevin Roberts, “we believe that we have charted a true course—a painful one, perhaps, but one that we think is necessary in safeguarding the integrity of Wyoming Catholic College.”

One of the key issues discussed by the Board’s task force when measuring the risks of accepting Title IV funds involved concerns about the impact federal regulation might have on the College’s hiring and admissions practices. "As a faithful Catholic institution, said Dr. Roberts, "we must preach the truth with courage and joy even as people falsely criticize us for discrimination. And that means we must be able to preserve our institutional integrity in such matters—a moral stance that we fear would be severely compromised by the regulatory power which accompanies the acceptance of federal funds.”

The Consequences

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“The most immediate, most significant benefit to the College if we had decided to accept Title IV funding at this time would have come in the form of government-backed student loans,” said Richard Rollino, the College’s Vice President of Operations and Finance. 

“The challenge we face at present is that the government has created a false student loan market, providing loans at a much lower interest rate than can be matched by any private financial institution, bank, or credit union. So, in an attempt to make our education truly affordable to our students while simultaneously maintaining our institutional autonomy, we are providing them with loans ourselves, offering them a comparable interest rate to what they would receive from the federal government." 

“While the College has been looking into other revenue streams from private sources (such as banks and credit unions) or from individuals who would loan the money directly to the students—solutions that would make those funds available to us without incurring ties to the federal government—none are viable alternatives at this time. And that's quite a heavy financial burden.”

Where Does The College Go From Here?

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While the College’s Board and Administration are confident that they’ve made the right decision for this stage in Wyoming Catholic’s development, they hold out hope that fasting from federal funds will not always be a necessity.

“We absolutely believe that this is the right thing for us, at present,” says Roberts. “But make no mistake: We will be working—joyfully and charitably, but most definitely working—to renew the culture in a way that may lead to better political circumstances in the future.

In the meantime, Dr. Roberts and his staff are hard at work to find ways to offset the loss of funding. “The message we heard most clearly when discussing this step with our various constituencies,” said Dr. Roberts, “was that ‘if you chart this path, we will stand with you—with courage, with prayer, and with ongoing financial support.’ But on a practical level, this decision does mean that all of us at the College will have to work that much harder to accomplish our noble mission."

How You Can Help

To help Wyoming Catholic College’s efforts to offer competitive financial aid in the wake of its recent decision to reject Title IV funding, the school is pleased to announce the creation of the Saint Thomas More Fund. St. Thomas More, who served as Chancellor of England under the infamous Henry VIII, is best remembered for his principled objection to the King’s heretical views on marriage and his refusal to back Henry’s attempts to separate from the Catholic Church over those views. This refusal eventually lead to his death (by beheading), making him an exemplary example of courage and unwavering commitment to the Faith at all costs. We are proud to follow in his footsteps.

Donations to the Saint Thomas More Fund can be made through our Online Donation Page , by using the embedded BlueFire  form below, or by  contacting the Office of Institutional Advancement (by phone at 307-332-2930 or by email at oia@wyomingcatholic.org).

What Others Are Saying

"That's what principle looks like."

"It’s a brand-new college with only 120 students — but it’s clear where its priorities lie.​"

"Even if funding their education privately ends up costing thousands of dollars more over the lifetime of their loans, [students] said Wyoming Catholic was still a bargain in the mountains compared with other schools."

More On Our Decision

"Although the government has not yet tied the proverbial strings between Title IX compliance to federal student loan and grant programs—governed by Title IV—the writing is on the wall."

Round-table discussion with President Roberts, Richard Rollino (our Vice President for Operations and Finance) and Matt Brasmer (our Vice President for Advancement) where they talk about the rationale behind the recent decision to forego Title IV funding, as well as the process that led the College's Board of Directors to this decision.