Marygrove College to end undergraduate programs after Fall 2017 semester

College will offer graduate studies only

Marygrove College in Detroit (WDIV)

DETROIT – Marygrove College in Detroit is ending its undergraduate programs at the end of the Fall 2017 semester and will offer only graduate and professional development programs starting next year. 

The private school has seen a 50 percent decline in enrollment and is experiencing the same financial issues as many liberal arts colleges across the country and the state, said President Elizabeth Burns, M.D., in a news release. The college's enrollment peaked in 2013 with more than 1,850 graduate and undergraduate students. However, in Fall 2016 total enrollment had fallen to 966, according to the news release. 

"Given the downward trend in Marygrove enrollment, and the plight of other liberal arts colleges, the Marygrove Board of Trustees determined that transitioning the college to a graduate-only institution was the best course of action,” Dr. Burns said in the release. "Marygrove is pleased that our students and our community will continue to benefit from the quality education the college has been delivering since it was founded as St. Mary’s College in Monroe in 1905 and brought to Detroit 90 years ago. Our commitment to help our students remains firm."

A message on the college's website reads: 

Undergraduate students who are registered for the Fall 2017 semester by September 5th should contact the Admissions Department at 313-927-1240 or 313-927-1250 to arrange for personalized academic advising and financial aid counseling. After December 31, 2017, undergraduate transcripts can be requested from the Registrar’s Office,

The college decided to keep the graduate studies programs because they are "sustainable and in demand," according to the release, which includes this statement from Kay Benesh, president of the Marygrove Board of Trustees:

"The Board of Trustees voted to continue with strong graduate studies and professional development because grad studies are sustainable and in demand. It was also critical for Marygrove to remain the mainstay of this northwest Detroit community and an active partner with our neighbors in growing this community. Marygrove will proceed with our February performance of the Marygrove Theatre of 'I Will Speak for Myself,' a play representing the voices of African American women throughout history, and the Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series, now in its 30th year, with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead in April, among other community-oriented programs."

Marygrove College's founding dates way back to 1846 when St. Mary Academy began enrolling students, according to the school's website:

Marygrove is the direct descendant of the original St. Mary Academy. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the Academy had begun to offer college-level courses and by 1905 the Sisters had built a separate St. Mary College. In 1910 the State of Michigan empowered the college to grant degrees, and in 1914, the State Department of Education authorized it to grant teaching certificates. Those original charters are still in effect at Marygrove today. 

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About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.