New partnership creates more pathways to college education


Franciscan University is fostering the start of a new tuition cut by teaming with a homeschool organization to offer classes to high school homeschoolers.

The university will now offer a 10 percent undergraduate tuition discount to members of, a Catholic organization that offers online classes for middle school and high school students and resources for home school parents.

“It’s a gift to be able to reach out and create a pathway where we can welcome more people into (the Franciscan University) opportunity … because that enriches and grows the entire Franciscan University family,” said James Mello, executive director of institutional effectiveness.

Mello said the partnership is an opportunity to welcome more people to the university “in a way that we couldn’t have conceived of 10, 15 years ago, but also in a way that does not compromise that dynamic orthodoxy, that academic excellence (or) the hallmarks of the residential experience.”

The partnership is an intentional effort to find more ways for the university to live out the Franciscan mission of active charity and building and repairing relationships, said Mello.

Mello said the Franciscan University Board of Trustees was inspired by the Rev. Nathan Malavolti, TOR, to collaborate with another organization involved in the work of the Church.

“There are many great organizations, great people, doing great work in the church, and in an extension of our Franciscan character and heritage, we want to partner with those,” said Mello. “We don’t want to think we have to do all this work alone. We’re together in this effort.”

Mello said the collaboration will help provide parents with more options for their children’s education. The goal is to create multiple pathways for people to come to Franciscan, said Mello, and is an ideal initial partner because it helps families live out the same values shared by the university and the Church.

“(The partnership) provides more opportunities and the hope that Catholic higher education can be rigorous, prestigious and affordable,” said Mello.

“We’re trying to bring together those things that on appearance seem opposites,” said Mello of a prestigious yet affordable education, “but that’s what Franciscans do.”

Beginning in August 2017, the partnership with will allow junior and senior high school age students to take up to two online classes per semester, including summer, for a total of up to 12 courses. Franciscan University will also become the exclusive higher education sponsor of’s parent webinars and online conferences. was founded in 2008 in the spirit of Pope St. John Paul the Great’s New Evangelization and in light of his teaching on the domestic Church. It seeks to use technology to enhance education by offering a wide range of courses. It strives to help parents fulfill their God-given vocation and is committed to making available the best Catholic instructors.

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