Montreat College to accept Clearwater students

From staff reports

More than a year after Montreat College struggled to find its own financial footing, it announced on June 8 a “teach-out agreement” for students of financially troubled Clearwater Christian College to complete their education at Montreat. After years of financial struggle, Clearwater Christian College announced its closure late last week.

The Clearwater, Florida college is closing due to financial difficulties, including declining enrollment (its 500-person student body was 100 fewer than a decade ago), it says on its website. Increased debt and not having a large endowment also caused problems, the college said.

“Clearwater President Jack Klem reached out to me to see if Montreat College might be interested in helping Clearwater students complete their education,” Montreat president Paul Maurer said in a Montreat press release. “It was not a difficult decision. We have a shared mission. Montreat College, like Clearwater, is an independent, Christ-centered liberal arts institution.

The agreement creates a personalized enrollment pathway by which Clearwater students can seamlessly transfer to Montreat, in most cases without delaying graduation or increasing costs.

In February 2014, Montreat administrators said it would pursue an “affiliation” with Georgia-based Point University, prompted by an operating deficit and because revenue for the residential program was not covering the cost of the program. Point trustees voted not to pursue the plan, however. Montreat College later announced its “All In” campaign to raise $8 million this year. In June, it named Paul Maurer as its new president.

Montreat is among eight schools in North Carolina included on a U.S. Department of Education list of about 550 schools nationwide under “heightened cash monitoring.” The college said the additional review was because of issues it faced in the 2012-13 fiscal year and that it has taken steps that will result in its being removed from the monitoring list.