26 June 2015, The Tablet

400-year-old Jesuit-run Heythrop College announces closure

Heythrop College in London has announced it is to close as a higher education institution after more than 400 years.

A statement on Friday following a governors’ meeting said: “The college in its current form, as a constituent college of the University of London, will come to an end in 2018, although its mission and work will not.”

The Jesuit-run institution, which specialises in theology and philosophy, has been struggling with a budget shortfall following the rise in student fees and increasing administration costs. 

Heythrop has been in merger talks with St Mary’s University in Twickenham for more than a year.

Those discussions, which never reached the formal negotiating stage, have now ended.

Heythrop, located on a residential square in Kensington, will continue to teach courses until 2017 and had already made the decision not to accept undergraduates this September. 

The college has around 650 students and had developed a reputation for excellent pastoral care and teaching of theology.

It employs 91 people and a total of 45 academic staff, including those who work part-time.

There are hopes to find a new home for Heythrop's Bellarmine Institute, which teaches seminarians and trainee Jesuits.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Chancellor of St Mary's University, said: “I regret the fact that it is not possible for Heythrop to continue its role in Higher Education provision. I now look forward to taking up the conversation with the Province (of the Society of Jesus) about how the important contribution of the Bellarmine Institute can be continued and developed.”

Read the college’s statement here.

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