- Jessup University, a private nonprofit institution in Northern California, will acquire Multnomah University, a fellow Christian college almost 600 miles north in Portland, Oregon.
- Jessup will operate Multnomah's 22-acre campus as its first out-of-state location. The two universities will work out the details and timeline of the deal over the coming months, Multnomah said in a FAQ.
- Multnomah, which is now known as the Multnomah Campus of Jessup University, said Tuesday it wasn't financially feasible for it to continue operating as an independent institution.
Like many small nonprofit colleges, Multnomah has faced enrollment declines and financial challenges, two factors it said contributed to its need to merge with or be acquired by another institution.
In 2022, Multnomah enrolled 608 students, down from 939 students in 2010, according to federal data.
Jessup gained students during that same window. The California university had 1,624 students in 2022, up from 721 in 2010.
Multnomah has faced significant budgetary issues over the past few years. In fiscal year 2020, the university’s revenue came up short by almost $1.8 million. The following year, it lost over $1.4 million.
"This new partnership represents a necessary intervention in order to preserve the legacy of Multnomah while launching into the future,” Multnomah said. “Without this partnership with Jessup University, the challenges of financial sustainability and declining enrollment left us with no viable path to continue independently.”
Following the merger, which is still pending regulatory and accreditor approval, Multnomah will offer new academic programming in technology, mental health and healthcare, the university said.
Little will change for Multnomah students, it said.
Students will be able to complete their programs, the university said. Additionally, current credits will transfer, tuition will stay the same through the current academic year, and Jessup will honor Multnomah's institutional scholarships and tuition discounts
Next year’s rates have not been decided, though Multnomah said the two campuses will be comparable in cost.
"Rest assured that complex procedures will not be a source of concern; we will furnish direction at the appropriate moment," Multnomah told its students in a statement Tuesday.
Both universities have similar undergraduate sticker prices. Multnomah’s on-campus undergraduate tuition is $29,560 for the 2023-24 academic year. Jessup’s tuition is set at $32,000.
Multnomah will lay off some of its staff, but Jessup will keep a majority of the institution’s faculty, per their statements.
"We plan to announce reductions immediately, but not to make changes until the end of the calendar year in order to give everyone ample time to transition well," Multnomah said.
Two of Multnomah's trustees will join Jessup's governing board as part of the acquisition.
“I’m truly excited about the opportunity for Multnomah and Jessup University to come together,” Jessup President John Jackson said in a statement. "I believe that by working together and aligning our missions, we will create something transformative."
Multnomah is not the first small religious college to be acquired by a like-minded institution in recent years.
In April, Lewis University, a Catholic institution in Illinois, announced it would take over St. Augustine College, another private nonprofit institution about 40 miles away.
Others have had worse fates.
Cabrini University, a Roman Catholic institution in Pennsylvania, said it will close next June, after failing to successfully partner or merge with another institution. Last week, Villanova University, a nearby Catholic college, finalized an agreement to acquire Cabrini's campus.