As One Catholic College Prepares to Close, Another Provides Support to Its Students Via TikTok

After the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York, announced it is closing, Misericordia University's president took to TikTok to support students who want to transfer to another Catholic institution.
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Published on January 3, 2024
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  • The College of Saint Rose will close after the spring 2024 semester.
  • Misericordia University President Daniel Myers said if students were happy at Saint Rose, they would likely be happy at Misericordia.
  • Myers' TikTok reached nearly 480,000 views, with several students from Saint Rose expressing interest in transferring.

As one Catholic college in New York prepares to close, another Catholic institution 200 miles away is reaching out to students via TikTok with transfer opportunities.

The College of Saint Rose, a small private Catholic college in Albany, New York, announced Dec. 1 that it will close after the spring 2024 semester due to financial issues, negative enrollment trends, and the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Saint Rose President Marcia White said in the announcement that the college's projected operating deficit is $11.3 million this year.

Now, the president of Misericordia University, a private Catholic college in Dallas, Pennsylvania, is taking to TikTok to support current Saint Rose students and connect them to the Misericordia transfer portal and the transfer coordinator's phone number.

Misericordia shares many of the same majors, athletic programs, size, and Catholic faith as Saint Rose, President Daniel Myers told BestColleges.

"Given that Saint Rose is very similar to my school in so many ways, I just wanted to invite you to consider Misericordia for transferring if it would fit your needs," Myers said in the TikTok video. "If you do call or contact us through the transfer portal, just mention that you're a Saint Rose student and that President Dan sent you, and I'll make sure you get extra special care as you go through that process."

Students who were happy at Saint Rose will very likely be happy at Misericordia, Myers said.

Myers' TikTok video reached nearly 480,000 views, including Saint Rose students who replied in the comments. He offered advice, university information, and personal offers to aid current Saint Rose students.

Myers told BestColleges he will personally guide Saint Rose students through the transfer process while recognizing the challenging situation of sudden displacement.

He said Misericordia will strive to minimize lost credits in the transfer process, find scholarships and match their current financial aid dollars, and treat each student as a special, individual case to address their concerns and integrate them into the community.

Saint Rose has graduated 50,000 students, according to the school's announcement. About one-third of the school's undergraduates are first-generation students, and almost 40% are from low-income, Pell Grant-eligible households. White said over 40% of the student population are students of color, and two-thirds are women.

Myers said he wrote to Saint Rose's president to offer any assistance should they need it.

"Saint Rose is of similar size with a similar mission in the Catholic tradition, and close to us geographically, so the announcement of their closure certainly struck a chord here at Misericordia," Myers told BestColleges.

Misericordia University President Daniel Myers.

While some colleges and universities are blocking TikTok on school devices and campus Wi-Fi, Myers said the social media app is an appropriate way to reach a student audience. He uses his TikTok to highlight fun campus life or topics like the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or college closures.

"Many current and prospective college students spend time on TikTok. That’s pretty clear," Myers told BestColleges. "I’ve chosen to spend time there, too. We believe I'm one of the few college presidents who has their own dedicated TikTok account."

@presdanmyersmu Replying to @Shan #collegeofsaintrose @Misericordia University ♬ original sound - President Dan

Misericordia has already interviewed several Saint Rose students and has a few speech-language pathology student transfer interviews scheduled, according to Myers.

"There are significantly fewer students enrolled in higher education today than there were just a few years ago," Myers told BestColleges. "Each time I hear of the loss of one of our fellow institutions, it strikes me as a loss for us all. At Misericordia, we are fortunate to be financially stable."

At least 47 public or nonprofit colleges have closed, merged, or announced closure or merger since the COVID-19 national health emergency began in March 2020.

Most students who experience a college closure do not re-enroll in another program, according to a 2022 report by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. However, the rate is even lower for students who experience abrupt school closures. They had lower college re-enrollment and completion rates than students whose colleges closed in an orderly manner.