Catholic Colleges in Iowa Join Forces

Sep 16, 2016

The six Catholic colleges in the state are banding together to address the challenges facing private higher education. The Iowa Catholic Collegiate Association will explore possible joint ventures and shared programs.

Students at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City
Credit Briar Cliff University

The Association will consist of Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Clarke University and Loras College in Dubuque, Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, St. Ambrose University in Davenport and the Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines. The president of Briar Cliff, Ham Shirvani, says the schools hope to see their economy of scale increase by joining forces.

“Each of these schools are small and therefore there are a lot of costs incurred when you are small,” he says.

Shirvani says the schools see advantages to collaboration.

“When you join forces, you suddenly become a major force." he says.  "Your economy of scale increases, your efficiency increases, you can serve the students better with a lower cost.”

Shirvani says savings may come in jointly purchasing equipment and bringing in guest speakers as a group. He also expects to see shared academic programs.