Heythrop College is continuing its discussions with St. Mary’s University after both institutions have completed due diligence on the other.
Following agreement from the governing bodies of both institutions, the talks will now explore potential models of partnership with a view to reaching a final decision by Easter 2015.
At its meeting on Thursday, Heythrop's Governors discussed the position for current students. They have confirmed that all current students at Heythrop College will continue to receive degrees from the University of London upon successful completion of their studies. This continuity of education is guaranteed. A group of staff and students has already been established to focus on this over the coming months. Additional resources will also be made available to the Heythrop Student Union to develop the wider student experience during this period.
The Governors also considered recruitment to the College in September 2015. In the circumstances, they have decided not to admit undergraduates for University of London degrees. Recruitment will continue for postgraduate programmes and for the professional programme for the Catholic priesthood. The College has consulted extensively inside the College, including with student representatives and outside the College, including with the University of London, with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and with the Society of Jesus.
Commenting after the Governing body meeting, Principal Fr. Michael Holman said: "The governors of Heythrop College have been looking at ways in which its valuable and important mission in the teaching and research of theology and philosophy can be maintained and developed in years ahead.
“We are all well aware of the challenges we face in meeting the costs of an autonomous college of the University of London. These challenges are all the greater in the more competitive world of higher education which this government has been introducing. The gap between income and expenditure has been bridged for many years by the Society of Jesus but their capacity to continue to do this is limited.
“The discussions with St Mary's offer us an opportunity to secure Heythrop’s mission in the form of a strategic partnership with another institution which shares our Catholic educational tradition. We will continue and deepen our talks with a view to preparing a proposal which both governing bodies will consider by Easter 2015. In the meantime, our focus is on continuing to support our students and staff."
Further update: April 2015