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Wesley College makes case for continued state funding

Wesley College officials say being a private college should not be a barrier to receiving state funding.

Wesley College was approved for up to $2 million from the state’s Higher Education Economic Development Investment Fund.

An Office of Budget and Management spokesman said $1 million was transferred to the college to help it to meet requirements to leverage federal financial aid funding for Delaware students through the second half of this year.

Wesley College President Robert Clark believes the college’s economic impact warrants allocating the rest.

“Over 50 percent of our students are from Delaware, over 80 percent of our students that graduate, stay here in Delaware," he said. "And on a yearly basis, the economic impact to Kent County alone is about $80 million.”

Clark said some have questioned if the state should help fund a private institution. But he argues the conversation should be more about the return on investment.

“So we all know the needs of our city, our region and our state," he said. "Hold us, leaders in higher education accountable to not only meet those needs, but then meet the needs of the future that’s just beginning to be defined.”

The OMB spokesman said the rest of the money will be distributed on an as needed basis at the school’s request.

Wesley College is reportedly in financial distress, but because it’s a private college, the details are not public. The school is suffering from low undergraduate enrollment. Clark said around 13-hundred students currently attend the school.

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