Lutheran College's Bid to Turn Over Control Denied; Closure Commenced

Dana College's Board of Regents decided Wednesday to commence the closing of the Blair, Neb., school after their request for change of control was denied.

The college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America had agreed in March to sell itself to the for-profit Dana Education Corporation (DEC) in an effort to "resolve long-standing financial resource issues."

 "The Dana College Board of Regents investigated a number of viable options, and selected DEC based on the plan presented to ensure continuity, and its desire to keep the mission, heritage and character of the college intact," reported Dennis Gethmann, president of the Board of Regents, after the agreement was made.

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The Higher Learning Commission, however, voted to deny Dana's request for a change of control and informed the school of its decision in an official notification that reached Dana College Wednesday.

In announcing the notification, the school claimed the commission's decision was "inaccurate, unfair and based on speculation and information not included in the required change of control request."

"We are devastated that despite meeting all requests and assiduously working to meet all requirements, the HLC decision does not allow for Dana's continuing operation," remarked Gethmann.

Raj Kaji, president of Dana Education Corporation, meanwhile, said his group was "deeply saddened by the impact this will have on the Dana community, the faculty and staff, the community of Blair, the state of Nebraska and most importantly the hundreds of students who will be displaced by this decision."

Based on the news and Dana's financial condition, the college's Board of Regents decided to commence the closing of the college and said it will not reopen for the 2010-11 academic year.

Through agreements with the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Grandview University in Iowa, Dana students will be able to continue their studies.

Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, Neb., has also extended an invitation to accept all Dana's roughly 500 students and to maintain their academic credits and financial aid.

A formal vote to close Dana College is scheduled for a regents' meeting on July 12.

With the closure of Dana, ELCA will be left with 26 colleges and universities.

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