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ELCA's Dana College closing

Dana College, Blair, Neb., will shut down before the start of the 2010-11 academic year, its board of regents announced June 30.

The 126-year-old, financially struggling college was to have been sold this summer to Dana Education Corp., a for-profit based in Nebraska, and would have ceased to be an ELCA school. But the sale fell through when the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools wouldn't transfer accreditation to the buyers, which would have left students unable to access federal financial aid.

A Dana news release called the commission's decision "inaccurate, unfair and based on speculation and information not included in the required change of control request."

The Journal Star, Lincoln, Neb., reported that the commission believed the buyers lacked higher education experience; there wouldn't be sufficient continuity of Dana's mission and programs; and the buyers' promise of $4.5 million to $5.5 million would fund the school's operational losses, not its infrastructure.

Dana board chair Dennis Gethmann said the school is committed to providing assistance for more than 500 students, as well as faculty and staff.

At presstime, agreements were made for students to continue studies at Grand View University, Des Moines, Iowa, and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Benjamin Sasse, president of Midland Lutheran, Fremont, Neb., said the college also plans to open its doors to students and some faculty and staff.


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