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On March 28, Iowa Wesleyan University in Mt. Pleasant, one of 35 private colleges in Iowa, announced they will be closing May 31.

They’ve made that threat before but this time it looks like the end of the headache.

In 2016 IWU secured a $26.1 Million loan from the US Department of Agriculture using real estate and other assets worth $19 Million as collateral.

They have made no payments and in December the monthly interest was reduced from $24,060 to $7,500, interest is accruing.

Tom Vilsack was Secretary of Agriculture and his wife Christie was a IWU board of trustee member.

It’s unclear how Senator Chuck Grassley was involved while serving on the Agriculture and Judiciary senate committees.

Even though they claimed indicators were trending upwards, they needed more money.

Chairman of the Board of Trustees said ”We have worked tirelessly to find solutions at all levels but to no avail “.

So the School President asked Governor Reynolds for $12 million from federal COVID relief funds, saying without the money the school would close.

Governor Reynolds was courteous enough to request an independent audit which reported back that federal funds would not solve the schools financial problems.

Neither could those federal funds be used for that purpose, President Christine Plunkett acknowledged Governor Reynolds comments yet they have blamed the Governor for the school closing.

Incredibly at a March 31 Town Hall with four area Iowa legislators, the IWU trustee chairman shook his left hand at the legislators and scolded them for not supporting the school.

In a polite/professional manner, the panel reminded him that IWU had hired a president that closed a college in Vermont and then calmly flipped through the

pages reciting by year from 2014 to 2019, before COVID, IWU lost a total of $19.5 million.

There is no indication of any attempt to change course but now they expect the community and the state to help with the transition.

The IWU trustees should hold a public town hall and explain what happened to all that money.


Leland Graber


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