Frequently Asked Questions

Financial Exigency

What is financial exigency?

“Financial exigency” is a term used to describe a college whose survival is threatened because
of a financial crisis.

At Northland, the president and the Board of Trustees may declare financial exigency if they determine that a drastic reduction in expenditures is necessary for the health and survival of the College.

Why would Northland declare financial exigency?

A declaration of financial exigency opens opportunities for restructuring the College in ways that may improve its financial circumstances. A declaration of financial exigency also allows Northland to make immediate changes to its academic programs and staffing while still honoring the processes of shared governance.

What is going to happen now that the Board has declared financial exigency?

Now that financial exigency has been declared, two committees have been formed to work collaboratively on a restructuring of the curriculum and operations of the College. Both groups will work collaboratively with campus constituents and each other to ensure input and coordination.

Does this mean the College is closing?

Not necessarily—financial exigency is not announcement of closure. This time will be spent determining if an immediate restructuring of the College and adjustments to the focus and size of the curriculum can improve its financial health and viability.

March 11–April 3 Financial Appeal

Can the donation that I made to the College’s March 11 fundraising appeal be refunded because the College did not meet its $12 million goal?

We deeply appreciate contributions to the fundraising appeal. Because we did not meet our goal, the College will now use the next two weeks after its April 4 announcement to explore the potential for significant reductions in operational expenses with the hopes of finding a path forward. The College still has significant financial needs to complete the current academic year. We understand, however, that you may have made your donation contingent on reaching the $12 million goal.

If you would like a refund, please provide a written request by May 4, 2024. We will then process the refund request, reducing the refunded amount by charges we incurred in collecting the original donation.

What is the status of the College’s emergency fundraising appeal?

The College’s March 11 fundraising appeal raised nearly $1.5 million from over 900 donations when it ended at midnight on April 3. While this was a record for the College, it was not enough to meet our goal. The two-week period starting with Northland’s April 4 financial exigency declaration is not an extension of the College’s fundraising appeal. The College still has significant financial needs, however, and gifts are still greatly appreciated.

Northland hoped to raise $12 million. Where will all that money go?

The money raised from this appeal was to be spent on regular operating expenses and funding the transition to a more sustainable college model.

Why choose a fundraising appeal instead of closing?

Many schools—including several in Wisconsin in recent years—have chosen to close with little warning. There is significant support and commitment for Northland. So many people believe in its mission, and College leadership, including the Board of Trustees, knew it was essential to do everything possible to save Northland.

Why was the deadline for raising funds April 3?

We are deeply committed to our students and, throughout this process, have wanted to make sure both current and incoming students have enough time to successfully navigate any necessary transitions.

General Questions

Who has the authority to make the decision to close?

The Board of Trustees holds the authority to close the College.

Is the College continuing to seek and accept applications and students?

Yes. If a decision to close is made, we will cease accepting applications and students. Our admissions team is working with admitted students to ensure they are supported throughout this entire process.

How will the College keep us informed of updates?

The College will provide updates on the status of the College. This FAQ will be updated on a regular basis, and you are encouraged to submit your questions to faq@northland.edu.

I heard Northland has started reaching out to other colleges regarding transfers and teach-outs. Is this true? Why are we doing this if the College is not closing?

Due to Northland’s financial challenges, our accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, asked us to make these arrangements to ensure our students have a path forward if the College has to close. Northland maintains its commitment to keeping options open and available to students throughout this time of uncertainty.

Background Information

How did Northland get to this point?

The College’s March 11 announcement felt abrupt to many. Northland has been struggling to find a sustainable solution despite aggressively exploring options. Northland is not alone in this struggle. Colleges and universities—especially private institutions—across the country are facing immense financial strain.

How long has the College known it was in this financial condition?

A comprehensive review of the College’s current assets, performance in previous fiscal years, and projections for future performance was completed in February. It was on the basis of this review that the Board made a final determination that the College did not have sufficient resources to continue its operations.

What steps has the College taken to mitigate its financial challenges?

The College has been actively working to raise funds, adjust operational budgets, and carefully scrutinize financial commitments. Despite all of this, the College has continued to operate at a deficit.