Catholic Colleges and Universities Featured in Global Sisters Report

ICYMI: An article on Global Sisters Report, titled “Sisters who blazed trails in higher education preserve heritage, charisms of Catholic universities” highlights the influence of women religious on women’s higher education in America. Catholic sisters opened colleges and universities for young women at a time when only men had access to higher education.

Their legacy is felt in the practices inspired by their charism at their founded schools. Sisters are finding ways to incorporate their charism into the character of the institution, by appointing mission officers dedicated to the charism, making the priorities of the religious community an integral part of the institutional structure, and involving students in visiting retired sisters or praying with the religious community. Additionally, many sisters are focused on working on justice issues, a vital part of many religious communities’ work and charism.

Currently, there are 104 colleges and universities founded by women religious in the United States. To learn more on the status of women religious-founded colleges and universities, read the full article on Global Sisters Report.

ACCU Releases Statement on Recent Executive Order by the President

More than 80 Catholic college and university presidents have signed the ACCU statement on the recent executive order by the President of the United States released on January 29, 2017. The statement reads:

“As the voice of Catholic higher education, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities expresses its strong opposition to the Executive Order signed by President Donald J. Trump concerning U.S. immigration policy. We stand in solidarity with other Catholic and higher education organizations that recognize the moral obligation of our country to assist migrants, particularly those who are fleeing any kind of persecution.

In referring to the order’s halt of refugee admissions, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, stated, “We believe that now more than ever, welcoming newcomers and refugees is an act of love and hope. … We will work vigorously to ensure that refugees are humanely welcomed in collaboration with Catholic Charities, without sacrificing our security or our core values as Americans, and to ensure that families may be reunified with their loved ones.” (Read Bishop Vasquez’s full statement online.)

Pope Francis has said that “authentic hospitality is our greatest security against hateful acts of terrorism.” As ACCU gathers this weekend in Washington, DC to celebrate the value of diversity within Catholic higher education, we reaffirm the commitment of our institutions to creating inclusive, welcoming campus environments that embrace people of all faiths and cultures. Catholic higher education was founded precisely to serve the children of Catholic immigrants who in their own time were excluded from higher education. This is a legacy that we proudly pledge to continue.”

Download the news release about this statement, which includes the names of ACCU member presidents who have signed to express their support.

Seattle University Featured for Challenge Grant Program

Seattle University was recently featured in the Washington Post for their Challenge Grant Program.  Challenge Grants are financial aid awarded to students with a high financial need for strong academic performance. Students that earn at least a 3.0 GPA in the fall semester have $1,000 added to their aid package for the winter and spring semesters. If a student maintains a GPA above a 3.0 for the remainder of the year, they keep the grant as a permanent addition to their aid. In connection with this program, Seattle University provides students with resources to support academic success and to create plans to avoid the loss of aid.

Loss of financial aid, even a small amount, can be a reason for students to discontinue their education. Seattle University considers it a worthy endeavor to support students in finishing their education, stemming from a rich history of Catholic higher education caring for the needs of a diverse student population. Read more on the program here.

Catholic Colleges Take the Fair Chance Higher Education Pledge

In summer 2016, the White House took a stride forward in removing barriers to participation in society for individuals returning from prison or returning citizens by launching the Fair Chance Pledge. Meant for businesses and institutions of higher education, the pledge commits signatories to committing to reducing barriers to a second chance at societal participation, to acting on this commitment in their local communities, and being an example for peer institutions and businesses.

Among institutions of higher education, taking the Pledge means “adopting fair chance admissions practices like going ‘Beyond the Box‘” by reconsidering whether questions related to criminal history are necessary for admissions applications. Additionally, the Pledge symbolizes a commitment to continue “supporting professors or students who want to teach or are teaching in correctional facilities and ensuring internships and job training are available to individuals with criminal records.”

ACCU member institutions Ancilla College, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University have taken the Pledge. We look forward to hearing about the advances these and other schools have made towards removing barriers for returning citizens.

Learn more about the Fair Chance Higher Education Pledge here.