By Lydia Szyjka
Choosing a college is a big decision. Even after you finally commit and are ready to begin your educational journey, roadblocks can impede your way before you’ve even taken your first class. Such was the case for students at Cabrini University when they abruptly learned in June 2023 that the university would close after the 2024 academic year.
Disheartened by the news of Cabrini’s impending closure, Immaculata’s executive team convened an immediate planning meeting to discuss ways of alleviating students’ and parents’ concerns by creating straightforward transition pathways that open Immaculata’s doors to Cabrini students.
“We were indeed saddened to hear the news regarding the closure of Cabrini University,” stated Immaculata President Barbara Lettiere ’72. “I recognize that it was a stressful and difficult time for everyone involved. We worked with the Cabrini students and their parents to make sure they knew Immaculata University was ready and able to assist them in finding a new landing place to continue their education. We are most proud to have many students from Cabrini join us here and be a part of the Mighty Mac community.”
Immaculata Among the First Universities to Extend Direct Support to Cabrini Students
Within hours of Cabrini’s closure announcement—and with just over two months before the 2023 fall semester was to begin—Immaculata staff, faculty and administrators formalized a Cabrini student transfer program and began communicating Immaculata’s offers of direct support. Implementing special admissions measures for Cabrini students, Immaculata eliminated application fees, provided direct admissions and waived enrollment deposit requirements. Immaculata also offered Cabrini students personalized financial aid packages for the 2023-2024 academic year that matched students’ current total costs of tuition, accepted most Cabrini course credits and worked with transferring students directly to evaluate their transcripts and guide them through the transfer process.
The Immaculata admissions office held Cabrini-specific transfer open house events, provided one-on-one academic counseling for interested students, and worked with Immaculata’s Division of Nursing to make the transfer process as seamless as possible for nursing majors who had additional admissions requirements.
Immaculata athletic staff and coaches conducted campus tours for Cabrini student-athletes considering transferring and ensured students received timely responses and guidance, while following all NCAA compliance rules.
Assisting with outreach to students and parents, Immaculata’s Office of Communications and Marketing shared special Cabrini transfer information on immaculata.edu and via social media. The financial aid staff worked to match Cabrini students’ financial aid packages and worked with them to complete financial aid documents. Academic advisors collaborated with faculty to determine course equivalencies between Cabrini and Immaculata for both the undergraduate core and major-specific classes and reviewed student transcripts and added academic progress information to Immaculata’s degree-tracking software.
As full-time resident students officially transferred, Immaculata’s Office of Residence Life and Housing placed students in housing and learning support services staff fielded student accommodation requests. And finally, Immaculata’s Student Development and Engagement staff welcomed the transfer students during New Student Orientation, which was held in August.
Over Two Dozen Students Transferred to Immaculata
Adhering to Immaculata’s core values of faith, community, knowledge, virtue and service, Immaculata team members welcomed 24 students from Cabrini, including both first-year and transfer students.
James Dilts ’25, a finance major with an accounting minor, chose Immaculata due to its proximity to his home and the vibrant campus community he noticed while touring campus. Having been involved with campus ministry at Cabrini, he immediately found an energizing group of friends who are actively involved in campus ministry, and he is already taking on a leadership role for an upcoming retreat.
Four former Cabrini students joined athletic teams at Immaculata during the fall semester, including former Cabrini swimmer Elizabeth Ferguson ’26. What’s more, Josh Pace, a former swim coach at Cabrini, took over as Immaculata’s head coach for men’s and women’s swimming. Ferguson was thrilled to see her former coach now at Immaculata.
Secondary education and English major Abigail Helm ’26 decided to transfer to Immaculata after completing her freshman year. “It made more sense to transfer out rather than wait,” Helm stated. Once the decision was made, she started looking at local colleges. When she contacted Immaculata’s admissions office, they made special arrangements for her and her family to visit campus on a Saturday. Once Helm discovered that Immaculata would match her tuition from Cabrini and that all her credits transferred, she enrolled. Being able to transfer their academic credits was a big factor in the decision-making process for students such as Helm.
When Julia Pellerito ’26, a PreK-4 education major with special education PreK-12, heard the news about Cabrini, she spent the entire summer contemplating where to transfer and didn’t enroll at Immaculata until a week before moving in. Having been a commuter student at Cabrini, she knew she wanted the full college experience of living on campus and not commuting any longer. Pellerito is pleased with her decision, as she has already made friends and serves as the manager for the women’s volleyball team and loves living on campus.
“Since attending IU, I have felt very welcomed, which has been a great experience so far. I’m glad I chose IU, because I don’t believe I would be able to feel this welcome and experience so much at any other school,” stated Pellerito.
Immaculata also accommodated two graduate students from Cabrini. Brooke Dunn, who transferred into Immaculata’s Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, needed only 12 credits to complete her degree. She noted that the administrative staff from the College of Graduate Studies and Research guided her through each step of the transfer process, which made the switch to Immaculata easy. Amy List was pursuing her doctorate in education at Cabrini when she learned Cabrini would close before she could finish her degree. With Immaculata’s stellar reputation for educating educators, List decided to transfer into the Ed.D. program at Immaculata. “Immaculata has been an excellent choice for me in regard to my experiences so far,” List stated. “There still is a bit of a learning curve, but I am getting the hang of it and becoming more comfortable with it.”