Wednesday, January 18, 2006

5 AMC students throw wrench into AMU's plans to close AMC earlier than promised

According to yesterday's Ann Arbor News, there are still five AMC "holdouts" that have refused to accept AMU's offer for a transfer or buyout, so that AMC can be closed down this Spring, one year earlier than AMU officials had promised to the current AMC students and faculty. For those not familiar with the promise by Monaghan and AMU officials to keep AMC open until at least Spring of 2007, I will refer you to this earlier post.Full story is reproduced below.

Ave Maria has five holdouts
All other students at college have accepted transfers or buyouts
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
News Staff Reporter
This past fall, when the college's Board of Trustees realized next year's class could be just 27 students, it offered two alternatives: paid tuition, room and board at Ave Maria University, which is northeast of Naples, Fla., or $15,000 toward expenses at another school.

As of Monday, said college President Dan Guernsey, 26 students have signed an agreement indicating they will accept either a transfer or a buyout by May 1.

However, five of the 31 eligible students eligible have asked for $45,000 apiece - three times more than offered.

The U.S. Department of Education requires that as part of closing Ave Maria College, the Board of Trustees provide a way for the students to complete a four-year degree, Guernsey said.

Several students who signed agreements declined to talk. However, Monica Grant, a 20-year-old junior from Houghton Lake majoring in history, said she hasn't decided what she's going to do but that she's hoping to find a school with the same academic standards as Ave Maria College.

Bonnie Beales, a 20-year-old theology major from Plymouth, Wis., said she hasn't signed the agreement for several reasons, including worries about what a transfer to another college might ultimately cost if the school doesn't accept all her Ave Maria credits. Extra courses could cost extra money - more than the $15,000 Ave Maria is offering.

Guernsey said students must weigh that concern against AMU's willingness to take all credits earned at the Ypsilanti campus.

However, Beales worries because Ave Maria University isn't yet fully accredited. Tuition at Ave Maria College is $12,600 per year; with room and board, total cost is about $18,740.

Beales said she and other students would like to have the compensation placed in an escrow account. Also, they do not want the money tied to living on campus, saying living elsewhere could be cheaper.

The buyout is all about "giving students a choice of college experience they want,'' Guernsey said.

The offers, first made in November, expired last Thursday.

In 2003, college founder Thomas S. Monaghan committed to keeping the school open until the end of the 2007 academic year, after which the campus of AMU is scheduled to be up and running.

The board, whose next meeting is in February, hasn't responded to the five students who've asked for more money.

The campus includes an academic building, an administrative building, two dormitories, a student activities center and several smaller buildings.

Monaghan, who founded Domino's Pizza in 1960, founded the college on West Forest Avenue in 1998. At its peak in 2003, it had 229 students, Guernsey said. The temporary campus in Naples includes 352 undergraduates and 93 graduate students, a total of 445 students.

Monaghan is building Ave Maria University on a 5,000-acre parcel that will also include homes and commercial businesses. Centered on conservative Catholic beliefs, Ave Maria offers a liberal arts curriculum.

Catherine O'Donnell can be reached at or 734-994-6831.


At 3:11 PM, Blogger TheLawDog said...

Take the money and run to a school like Christendom that is far better run. 15k is nearly all you need (with some likely financial aid) to make sure your at a school that practices what it preaches.

At 5:17 PM, Blogger mSCIENCE said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 5:31 PM, Blogger 1L 2L 3L JUMP! said...

Wow! I sure have learned a lesson or two! 15k! That is a ton of dough! And it would likely be even more for us law students! I sure hope they move the law school to Florida too! Thanks, mscience! You have been an inspiration to us all! See ya in Naples!

At 6:07 PM, Blogger mSCIENCE said...

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At 2:32 PM, Blogger mrbooks said...

"This past fall, when the college's Board of Trustees realized next year's class could be just 27 students..."

Don't you just love this part. So, just who was it who changed their minds about "full" operation of AMC until 2007 -- including "full" admissions. You're only allowed one guess, 'cause that's all it should reasonably take. Big promise made, on more than one occassion I might add. Big promise broken.

So, who did they think would be attending AMC at the end once t hey cut off admission of freshmen and sophomores? Yet, almost immediately the whining began about too many profs, not enough students, costs too much.

Admissions had hundreds of calls. At one point, the voicemail was overloaded. AMC could have had full classrooms and money coming in (granted, the budget never was in the black - but the proportion would have been better). Yet the administration and board chose to cut off admissions, contrary to specific promises previously made.

I certainly hope that certain of the responses to this and other postings have been the writer's attempts at satire or the result of a total lack of knowledge and understanding of what has gone on at AMC. I cannot believe that anyone knows what I know could sympathize with the administration and board rather than their victims, the students, staff, and faculty of AMC.

At 9:53 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

i thought the buyout had been accepted, regardless of what the five hold-outs requested.

At 2:13 PM, Blogger mrbooks said...

Well, Thomas, my understanding is that the holdouts likely won't get anywhere with negotiating for more money, and the original offer is no longer on the board for them. However, they may be able to pay tuition and receive their final year here, albeit without the current facilities (library, etc.). Details of housing and just where classes would meet, who would teach, etc. are all very vague indeed.

I don't think anyone knows for certain at this point. Guess we'll all just have to wait and see.


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