A Chicago-based Catholic university says uncertainty with state funding for higher education aid is responsible for its decision to phase out its operation in the southeast Valley.
Karla Thomas, Executive Director of Media Relations for Saint Xavier University, said 1,600 of the 4,000 total students enrolled require funding through the state of Illinois' Monetary Assistance Program, which gives financial aid to Illinois residents for postsecondary education.
In a letter the university sent to those attending classes through the campus near N. Gilbert and W. Elliot roads, interim Provost Kathleen Alaimo said the decision to close the Arizona location was made because of the school's "responsibility to the entire Saint Xavier community."
The email also said programs scheduled for the summer and fall of 2016 would continue as scheduled. The school's associate provost for advising and dean of graduate and continuing education will travel to campus for meetings with students on May 31 and June 1, according to the email.
Students taking Saint Xavier classes online would not be impacted by the decision to close, Thomas said. An online breakdown on the university's website did not specify how many of its total students attended through the Gilbert location.
Higher education funding is one of several issues under heated debate as Illinois lawmakers work to meet an August deadline to pass a state budget. Last month, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill authorizing an emergency $600 million in short-term funding for postsecondary education.