NMU offering teach-out plan to Finlandia students / State officials react to closing

Finlandia University is partnering with Northern Michigan University in a teach-out plan that will allow Finn U students to complete their degree at NMU. Finlandia will end operations at the end of the spring semester, according to an announcement released by the university’s Board of Trustees on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Finlandia University)


Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University announced that it is partnering with Finlandia University and its students through FinnU’s teach-out plan. This partnership will provide an educational experience, resources and support services similar to FinnU for students who choose to receive guaranteed admission to NMU.

FinnU announced the teach-out plan to its community on Thursday, noting that it will not enroll students for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Students who are enrolled at FinnU for the 2022-2023 academic year will be offered guaranteed admission to NMU for the 2023-2024 academic year. FinnU students can enroll in NMU summer and fall courses beginning late this month and early April.

FinnU students interested in exploring education opportunities at NMU may contact the admissions office by visiting: nmu.edu/admissions/finlandia. NMU admissions counselors will work directly with FinnU students, providing them with personalized attention to evaluate each student’s individual needs to ensure they get the support they need, and support academic program planning and course registration.

NMU is able to work with all FinnU students interested in the teach-out plan, even if their course of study or program is not offered at NMU.

“We understand that this teach-out will have a huge impact on Finlandia students, and we want the entire FinnU community to know that we are here to support them through this challenging transition,” said Dale Kapla, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at NMU, in a news release. “All Finlandia students are welcome to speak with a counselor from our admissions office to learn more about programs and courses we offer here, and how that can fit into their current area of study. We want this guaranteed admissions process to be as easy as possible for the FinnU community and for FinnU students to know they’ll be welcomed if they decide to finish their studies at NMU.”

NMU will directly admit FinnU students to NMU for summer and fall classes as well as the winter 2024 term, and will:

≤ provide Finlandia students with the same experiences, resources and support services available to NMU students;

≤ provide Finlandia students with NMU resident-equivalent tuition rates, which are less than Finlandia’s published tuition rates;

≤ waive admission requirements and application fees for eligible Finlandia students;

≤ accept all successfully completed Finlandia University credits; and

≤ work with students to keep them on their degree completion timeline.

NMU said it will adhere to all guidelines and best practices of the Higher Learning Commission and any other accreditors specific to programs included in this teach-out plan.

NMU Brock Tessman issued a letter to NMU faculty and staff on Thursday.

“It was hard to hear this afternoon’s news about Finlandia University in Hancock making the decision to close,” Tessman wrote. “As you can imagine, this was not an easy decision for the university to come to, and I’m sure you join me when I say Northern community members will do all that we can to support the 400 or so FinnU students and 170 faculty and staff.”

Northern and Finlandia are working on signing a formal memorandum of understanding for NMU for the teach-out partnership.

Finlandia offers several programs that overlap with NMU programs, Tessman said, including nursing, criminal justice, psychology and business.

“We will work with students in FinnU programs not offered at Northern, including physical therapy assistant, sports management and health care management, to review NMU alternatives that may be a good fit,” he said.

Students who participate in the teach-out with Northern will ultimately earn an NMU degree, Tessman said.

“I’ll thank everyone in advance for welcoming Finlandia students into the NMU community,” he said. “If you have colleagues at Finlandia, I encourage you to reach out to them to see in what other ways NMU might be able to help with this tremendously difficult upcoming transition.”

McBroom, Markkanen react

State Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Waucedah Township, and state Rep. Greg Markkanen, R-Hancock, on Friday said they are saddened by the announcement by Finlandia University’s Board of Trustees that the school will close its doors.

“Finlandia University has been opening up new opportunities for students and helping improve lives in the Upper Peninsula for over a century — and it is truly sad to hear that their long legacy of contributions will be coming to an end,” McBroom said in a statement. “I feel for the many students and staff and their families, yet I am also encouraged by the support of many universities who have already stepped up to ensure the Finlandia students can finish their education.”

Markkanen and his wife, Jane, are alumni of Suomi College, the former name of Finlandia, and live in Hancock, where the university is located.

“I am shocked and deeply saddened that Finlandia University — the school I love and that played such an important part of my life and in shaping the person I have become — will no longer be helping foster the talents of future students,” Markkanen said in a statement. “It is good to hear that current students will have opportunities to finish their education at other schools, but losing an over 120-years-old institution is a huge loss for our community and the entire Upper Peninsula.”

The lawmakers indicated that there are state resources available for impacted students and staff, such as numerous links to support from job training to housing at the state’s Helping Hand site at www.michigan.gov/helpinghand.

According to the lawmakers, Finlandia University said it will make sure that current students will be able to transfer credits and complete their education, noting that the school, in addition to NMU, also has finalized teach-out agreements with Michigan Technological University, Bay College, Adrian College and Wartburg College.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.


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