University Announces Acquisition of Cabrini University

Lydia McFarlane, Co-News Editor

In a joint statement issued by Villanova and Cabrini Universities on June 23, an agreement between the two institutions was announced. Villanova will assume ownership of Cabrini’s campus at the conclusion of Cabrini’s 2023-24 school year.

We have been working with Cabrini leadership on a plan to transition Cabrini University’s operations to a close—one that would also preserve Cabrini’s legacy and mission, honoring our shared commitment to advancing Catholic higher education,” Father Peter Donohue, O.S.A, Ph.D. said in an email to the University community. “Through this endeavor, we seek to enhance our University and our programs while retaining our Catholic and Augustinian traditions.”  

Facing financial challenges and a competitive higher education landscape following the Coronavirus pandemic, Cabrini was unable to recover from its financial hardships and will close at the conclusion of the 2023-2024 school year. After exhausting every possibility, Cabrini initiated conversations with the University to discuss next steps and preserve its legacy as a respected Catholic higher education institution.  

The decision comes after years of financial instability at Cabrini. It has faced declining enrollment for several years and has been consistently operating at a deficit. While it has continually looked for solutions, its administration found that closing was the only possible choice. 

The universities are natural partners because of their similar missions and foundations in Catholic values. Both university boards have approved an agreement that will preserve Cabrini’s history, mission, ministry, and legacy that will go into effect once it graduates its final class next spring. 

While a definitive agreement been the two schools has not yet been reached, discussions are ongoing. The joint statement included several key components intended to answer questions for students, faculty and staff at both institutions. 

For the next year, Cabrini will maintain normal operations. The class of 2024 will graduate from Cabrini as planned, and a normal academic class schedule will be offered to all students. Approaching the change, Cabrini will share resources with Villanova to support students in making individualized plans for those not in the class of 2024 regarding transfers and completion of their degrees. For Cabrini students who would want to consider continuing their education at Villanova, the University is developing a fee-free review process so students can get admissions decisions, as well as financial aid information, as quickly as possible ahead of the 2024-2025 academic year.  

Cabrini faculty and staff will also be provided with support as they search for new employment. Father Peter stated that there are potential employment opportunities within the University for Cabrini faculty and staff. 

Once Cabrini officially concludes its operations in May 2024, Villanova will assume ownership of Cabrini’s land. However, how the University will use this land once it’s acquired has not been decided. A strategic plan to incorporate Cabrini’s campus and facilities into the University’s is currently being developed for Cabrini’s campus, according to the FAQ section of the website developed for this agreement, 

Student Government Association President Thomas Dessoye, Vice President Dean Millard, and Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Kenza Idrissi want to reassure students in the wake of the news.  

“Currently, we know as much as the rest of the student body,” Dessoye, Millard, and Idrissi said in a joint statement to The Villanovan. “Our primary responsibility is to serve and empower the Villanova University community, so we will try our best to assist the University Administration throughout this transition period while also ensuring our own students are cared for, as well. We are thinking about the students, faculty, and administration at Cabrini University, as this must be an incredibly challenging time. Yet, we are excited for the future opportunities that await. We will work diligently to support both the Villanova and Cabrini communities. For any additional information, please contact Villanova’s Vice President for Student Life, Kathy Byrnes, or visit We will provide more details as we continue to learn more.” 

Since this announcement comes in the preliminary stages of the agreement, there is still much to be finalized. However, the University is committed to transparency and has said it will keep the community updated as more details become available. 

“What I can share is that we both enter this potential agreement with mutual respect and understanding for the needs and priorities of both of our communities,” Father Peter said in the email. “I appreciate the trust Cabrini President Helen Drinan has placed in us during this challenging time, and my thoughts and prayers are with the Cabrini community.”