University restructure FAQs

Updated: April 2, 2024 

The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) have been prepared to provide information about the university restructuring process as part of the solution for the financial crisis at Saint Martin’s University. Throughout this situation, the top priority is to protect the student experience.

Saint Martin’s must reimagine itself as we move forward to continue providing our Catholic Benedictine education and mission. Each member of our university community is a part of this reimagining process.

This webpage will continue to be updated with new information. 

The frequently asked questions are broken down by the following categories: 

  • Academic restructuring 
  • Financial crisis 
  • Students and parents 
  • Higher education landscape


Reference the formal correspondence shared about the financial crisis and academic restructuring process.

Read Communications

Academic restructuring

Saint Martin's University has begun a restructuring process this spring to better align itself with current expenses and expected revenue. We cannot grow our way out of this financial crisis without implementing academic restructuring, as allowed by the faculty handbook. As margins between net tuition and instructional costs widen, our only choice is to re-engineer ourselves to offer the academic degree programs that best fit student and community needs. 

Acadeum is a platform and student success tool that allows students to take courses needed to matriculate toward their degree but not offered at Saint Martin's University when the student needs it. For instance, we have students who need Course ABC to graduate in December 2024. However, that specific course is not listed as an offering in the Fall 2024 course schedule. Instead of forcing the student to take the course somewhere else over the summer, or stay an extra semester with the hopes that the course will be offered, the student can work with their advisor and dean to take that course through the Council of Independent Colleges network (the University's national association) offered through Acadeum at no additional cost to the student. Students cannot take courses on the platform that are offered and available at Saint Martin's. Students must have the approval of their dean to take a course through this platform.

More information may be found at

On March 15, all faculty received their annual appointment letters for the coming academic year per the faculty handbook. Several terminal appointment letters were issued to faculty, which means those faculty members would not be automatically guaranteed their teaching position come August 2025. The terminal appointment letter expects those faculty members to continue teaching for the 2024-2025 academic year at full pay. Faculty in departments that may be included in the academic restructuring process received terminal appointment letters. In the case of academic program changes or restructuring, whether through renaming or combining with another program, the handbook requires a considerably lengthy process, which is why the terminal appointment letters were sent immediately. 

All faculty are keeping their salary increases from the fall. When faculty were asked to weigh in on budget saving measures, they stated keeping the faculty salaries raised to the agreed upon market rate was the priority. 

The terminal appointment letters provided are to follow the faculty handbook process to restructure the academic programs at the University. Depending on how the restructuring takes place, which includes faculty input, the need for terminal appointment letters may change. The faculty handbook requires a year or longer to conduct the restructuring of academic programs, so these terminal appointment letters needed to go out now rather than wait to see how the budget situation may change. Depending on how the budget situation changes in the coming months, the terminal appointment letters may or may not need to be acted upon.

No single faculty member was identified to receive terminal appointment letters. Following the faculty handbook, departments were selected that either have low student enrollment or that are being considered as part of the academic restructuring process. This process follows the faculty handbook on its considerably long academic restructuring requirements. Decisions made will be revisited as able if the budget situation changes for the better. 

The Core Curriculum will continue. As part of the university’s restructuring process and reimagining itself into the future, the Core Curriculum is key. It is how we ensure students receive hallmarks of the Catholic Benedictine education, which includes the liberal arts and humanities. Through this academic restructuring process, some aspects of the Core Curriculum may change. 

All faculty are keeping their salary increases. When faculty were asked to weigh in on budget saving measures, they stated keeping the faculty salaries raised to the agreed upon market rate was the priority. 

For the current fiscal year, other areas have undergone budget cuts. Both staff and faculty had the University’s employer 403(b) retirement contribution benefit cut. The staff have 25 frozen vacant positions that are not being filled. This means staff have even leaner teams than in previous years. Department budgets have been cut to the extent that still allow the university to operate. 

The liberal arts are the heart of a Catholic, Benedictine higher education, and will remain central to Saint Martin's University. The liberal arts encompass a broad interdisciplinary approach to learning, focusing on critical thinking, creativity, communication, and a well-rounded understanding of the human experience through the study of subjects such as literature, philosophy, history, and the sciences.

Financial crisis

Saint Martin's University is experiencing a financial crisis due to declining enrollment of new and returning students. This FAQ section will be updated as the financial situation changes.

Saint Martin’s is experiencing a historic low in the enrollment of new and returning students. A message from the Office of the President was shared with the campus on January 22, 2024, outlining the enrollment 10-day census: “For the spring semester, we have 1,357 students enrolled. Due to smaller fall enrollment and continued retention concerns, this is 173 students fewer than our spring enrollment for last year.” You may see more up-to-date enrollment information on the Office of Institutional Effectiveness webpage

With the federal FAFSA delays and shifting enrollment trends across the country, enrollment forecasting at the University is difficult. The university operating budget is tuition-dependent, so final numbers are projected for budgeting purposes. As of now, a deficit of up to $4.3 million is projected for the University in the next fiscal year (July 1, 2024, to June 30, 2025). 

Yes, all faculty are keeping their salary increases. When faculty were asked to weigh in on budget saving measures, they stated keeping the faculty salaries raised to the agreed upon market rate was the priority. The administration has honored that wish. To fund those salaries, other budget saving measures needed to be enacted. 

Both the Faculty Senate and Staff Welfare Committee were provided letters that contained various budget saving measures for their input. These options are currently being discussed such as continuing freezing staff vacant positions (currently 25 staff positions are frozen), lowering adjunct faculty course loads, decreasing the number of cross listed and co-taught courses, and lowering or freezing the employer 403(b) contribution benefit.

Students and parents

Please know that any budget saving measures enacted will not impact the student experience. If you have additional questions, please reach out to the Office of Student Affairs at or 360-438-4367. 

Any academic changes that may occur will take effect over time – current and incoming students will still graduate with the same degree they have chosen. The purpose of this academic restructuring at the University is to streamline course offerings and support students’ efforts to graduate on time with the classes and degrees they need. If any changes are made to an academic program, students in that major program will be made aware and will still be able to graduate with that degree. 

Should you be in an academic program that the University chooses not to support in the future, a teach-out provision will be provided to ensure you graduate with your degree.

No, your financial aid and scholarships will not be impacted. Academic scholarships will continue according to the commitments made between Saint Martin’s and students. 

Yes, student co-curricular activities will continue without issue. The utmost priority is to protect the student experience and continue supporting student success at Saint Martin’s. No budget cuts will be made that impact the student experience.

Higher education landscape

The financial crisis at Saint Martin's University is not unique to our institution. Other universities and colleges are undergoing a similar restructuring process or even closing their doors, both public and private, smaller and larger.

For more information

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