The world’s first Jesuit community college — Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago — is scheduled to open at the Water Tower Campus on Aug. 17.
Arrupe College is named for the widely revered Jesuit Pedro Arrupe, the superior general of the Society of Jesus from 1965 to 1983. It is an extension of Loyola and aims to provide prospective students with the same liberal arts core curriculum classes offered at the university, but at a more affordable cost, according to the Rev. Stephen Katsouros, S.J., Arrupe’s dean and executive director.
Loyola’s president and CEO, the Rev. Michael J. Garanzini, S.J. was the first one to propose this college after assessing the needs of students with limited financial resources and low academic credentials in the Chicagoland area. The idea was approved in June 2014 by Loyola’s Board of Trustees. Since then, however, getting Arrupe College off the ground and running has been entrusted to Katsouros.
“This is really the result of President Fr. Garanzini. His vision and the Jesuit mission of making this kind of education available and accessible to lots of different people, particularly people who are marginalized economically,” said Katsouros. “The Jesuits and our colleagues do not want our colleges and universities to become elite. [If we do so] we are leaving such great and college-deserving students behind.”
Arrupe College is also a part of Loyola’s commitment to President Barack Obama’s efforts to increase college opportunity in the United States by making it more affordable for students. In accordance with the Commitment to Action proposal published by the Obama administration, Arrupe College has committed to helping 2,275 earn associate’s degrees by 2025. In order to do so, Arrupe must admit around 200 students each year.
Unlike Loyola’s 15-week semesters, Arrupe college will follow a block academic schedule in which there will be three periods lasting eight weeks.
Katsouros said this schedule enables students to meet the required 61 credit hours to graduate in a two-year period, while also appealing to the flexibility many students need in order to work and receive tutoring.
Students applying for Arrupe College must score between 17 and 22 on the ACT or secure a grade point average of 2.5 or better, according the Commitment to Action proposal. As of now, Arrupe has received more than 80 applications, but has not began accepting any yet.
Arrupe College will move to Maguire Hall once Loyola’s Quinlan School of Business transfers to its new building John and Kathy Schreiber Center across the street. The first three floors of Maguire Hall will be dedicated to Arrupe students, leaving the fourth and the fifth floors of the building to house Loyola’s School of Social Work, which is currently at Lewis Towers. Katsouros said that having both schools in the same building will benefit both sets of students.
“This could be a mutually beneficial relationship for master’s of social work students who are looking for [service] hours … We will have a social worker dedicated to Arrupe who will supervise the [Masters in Social Work] students providing support for Arrupe students,” he said.
Tuition at Arrupe College is expected to be $14,000 per year. However, Katsouros said Arrupe College is a Jesuit mission-driven project rather than a financial advancement for Loyola. Most students will be eligible for both federal Pell grants and Illinois MAP grants. Students will also be expected to commute to classes, which is expected to reduce their academic expenses to about $2,000 per year. However, Loyola is willing to “absorb” part of this, making tuition relatively cheaper, according to Katsouros.
So far Arrupe College has pitched its program to 23 high schools across the Chicagoland area, in the hopes that they will become feeder schools for the college. These schools include De La Salle High School, Senn High School, UNO Charter Schools and Seton Academy, according to Wendolyn Gomez, Arrupe’s administrative assistant.
Representatives from the college are traveling to these schools to meet with prospective students for pre-enrollment advising and to assist students and their families in filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
For Preston Kendall, president of Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep, located in Waukegan, Illinois, Arrupe College gives some of his students a realistic opportunity to continue their education past high school.
“We are excited [about] Arrupe because it focuses on why students don’t go on to get their degrees. Maybe it is financial reasons or social reasons, but Arrupe’s focused on what our kids need: affordability, structure and counseling,” said Kendall.
Kendall was recently appointed to Arrupe’s advisory board and has voiced transportation concerns for students commuting from distant areas of the city. He also expressed concern over the competitive nature of Arrupe, due to its current 200-student limit.
“I think its going to be very competitive. That was one of my concerns,” Kendall said. “They touched on something that will generate a lot of demand. I am hopeful that Arrupe will be successful because it will encourage [other] universities to do the same thing.”
Currently Katsouros is looking for candidates to fulfill various associate dean positions and six full-time professors and four part-time professors.