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Butler University creating two-year college for underserved students

Butler creating two-year college to increase access, affordability

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Butler University announced on Friday that it is partnering with a national nonprofit to create a new two-year college on its Indianapolis campus that will provide an affordable pathway for underserved students who want to pursue education after high school. 

Butler’s new two-year college aims to address long-standing gaps in college access and completion for historically underserved students and increase degree attainment. According to a news release, students enrolled in the college can obtain their associate’s degree with no debt or out-of-pocket expenses, and most will have the opportunity to continue at Butler and earn a bachelor’s degree for less than $10,000.

“Butler University was founded in 1855 on the fundamental principle that women and people of color should have equal access to higher education as white men, a radical vision for the era,” Butler President James Danko said. “Now, almost 150 years on, unequal access to higher education persists among certain segments of our population. It’s a significant problem that demands our attention. The ‘Come to Believe’ model is not only innovative in its approach, but it also has proven outcomes, resonating deeply with Butler’s original mission. We consider it an honor to be selected for participation in the Come To Believe Network. In collaboration, we are committed to transforming lives.”

Butler is the third university to join the Come To Believe Network, a nonprofit that has established a track record of success in helping higher education institutions develop and launch two-year college programs that provide pathways for underserved students to receive two-year and four-year degrees.

Students who participate in Come to Believe model colleges graduate at four to six times the national average for two-year colleges. More than 80% of graduates from CTB model colleges transfer to four-year schools, and 75% graduate with a bachelor’s degree, in part because they receive access to the same amenities as four-year students at the universities, plus additional support. Like Arrupe and Dougherty Family College, Butler’s two-year college will be accessible to Pell-eligible or undocumented students who face barriers to college but have demonstrated high potential to succeed with the support CTB’s model provides.

“Butler University is exactly the type of competitive school many underserved students aspire to attend and could succeed at with the right support,” Steve Katsouros, S.J., Ed.D. Founder, President and CEO of Come to Believe Network, said. “This visionary institution recognizes how CTB’s model can empower more young students in the Indianapolis metro area to fulfill their potential through the promise of higher education.”

Butler will begin enrolling students next year for the fall 2025 semester. Students will have the option of pursuing associate’s degrees in Business or Allied Health. Butler also announced Friday that it is launching a national search for an inaugural Dean for the new college.

CTB is providing Butler with $500,000 in seed funding, made possible by a gift from Schreiber Philanthropy, to support the launch of the new college.