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Wesley College asking for more state funds, this time $3.2 mil

Delaware Public Media

Wesley College is asking the state for additional funding and the latest ask would nearly match what it has received already this year.    

It’s the third time in 2019 the private college in Dover has asked for taxpayer support. Wesley has thus far received about $1 million from the state to help it meet requirements to leverage federal financial aid funding for its Delaware students, and the college gained approval for about $2 million from Delaware’s Higher Education Economic Development Investment Fund just weeks ago.

It’s now asking to draw an additional $3.2 million from that fund.

Wesley President Robert Clark continues to make the case it’s a worthy state investment since over half of the college’s students are Delawareans and more than 80% of its graduates stay in the state.

“And the other thing, let’s be frank, people ask ‘well you’re a private institution, the state is giving money to a private institution,’ and I think that’s somewhat shortsighted to look at it that way, because it’s not how we’re branded, it should be about what we provide,” said Clark.

Clark points to a UD study from a few years ago that says Wesley contributes about $80 million per year to Kent County.

But it’s been reported Wesley was placed on a federal monitoring list earlier this year due to financial challenges. And a spokesperson with Delaware’s Office of Management and Budget says any future funding granted to Wesley is contingent on the college’s future sustainability.

Without offering specifics, Clark says the college is looking for potential partners.

“That would be an absolute game-changer for not only the college, but for the state and region in terms of job opportunities, educational opportunities and a very strong and bright future,” he said  

Clark admits undergraduate enrollment at Wesley has steadily declined in recent years, like most small colleges. But he notes graduate enrollment is up.

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